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PEAT DEPOSITS OF NORTH CAROLINA 



ROY L. INGRAM 



BULLETIN 88 



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PEAT DEPOSITS OF NORTH CAROLINA 



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DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND COMMUNITY 

DEVELOPMENT 

DIVISION OF LAND RESOURCES 

GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SECTION 



RALEIGH, 1987 



GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SECTION 

The Geological Survey Section shall, by law "...make such examination, 
survey, and mapping of the geology, mineralogy, and topography of the state, 
including their industrial and economic utilization as it may consider 
necessary." 

In carrying out its duties under this law, the section promotes the wise 
conservation and use of mineral resources by industry, commerce, agriculture, 
and other governmental agencies for the general welfare of the citizens of North 
Carolina. 

The section conducts a number of basic and applied research projects in 
environmental resource planning, mineral resource exploration, mineral 
statistics, and systematic geologic mapping. Services constitute a major portion 
of the Section's activities and include identifying rock and mineral samples 
submitted by the citizens of the state and providing consulting services and 
specially prepared reports to other agencies that require geological information. 

The Geological Survey Section publishes results of research in a series of 
Bulletins, Economic Papers, Information Circulars, Education Series, Geologic 
Maps, and Special Publications. For a more complete list of publications or more 
information about the Section please write: Geological Survey Section, P.O. Box 
27687, Raleigh, North Carolina 26711. 

Jeffrey C. Reid 
Chief Geologist 



PEAT DEPOSITS OF NORTH CAROLINA 

by 

ROY L. INGRAM 

Professor of Geology 

University of North Carolina 

Chapel Hill, NC 27514 

BULLETIN 88 



Work performed under Grants 

from 

United States Department of Energy 

DE-AC18-79FC14693 

DE-AC01-79ET14693 

and 

North Carolina Energy Institute 



LIBRARY 




DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND COMMUNITY 

DEVELOPMENT 



DIVISION OF LAND RESOURCES 



Doc 
'^[lj S q GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SECTION 

mi 

c >- 



RALEIGH, 1987 



3:8* 

ci State Ltaty of j 



r-'- -.. 



"600^3 



CONTENTS 



Page 



Page 



Abstract 1 

Introduction 1 

Methods 2 

Field Methods 2 

Laboratory Methods 3 

Nature of North Carolina peat 3 

Peat Types 3 

Composition and Heating Value 4 

Moisture and Water Budget 4 

Ash.-. 5 

Heating Value 6 

^ Proxifiate Analysis 6 

Ultimate Analysis 7 

Trace Elements 8 

tfcffl^ : ''*P*--* 8 

\^*^'»*$fuTk Densitydf 8 

Calculation of Peat Reserves/Resources. ...9 

Uses of Peat 11 

Peat Deposits 12 

Geologic Types 12 

Coastal Swamps or Pocosins .12 

Dismal Swamp 13 

Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula 15 

Gull Rock 17 

Van Swamp 18 



Bay City - Gum Swamp 20 

Light Ground Pocosin 22 

Open Grounds Pocosin 23 

Croatan Forest 25 

Hofmann Forest 26 

Angola Swamp 28 

Holly Shelter Swamp 29 

Green Swamp 30 

Others 31 

Carolina Bays 33 

River Floodplains 34 

Chowan River 34 

Roanoke River 35 

Cape Fear River 58 

Other River Floodplains 60 

Tidal or Coastal Marshes 60 

Total Peat Resources of North Carolina 61 

Acknowledgments 61 

References 62 

Appendix 

A. Scheme for Assigning Location 
Numbers on U.S. Geological 
Survey Quadrangle Maps 67 

B. Proximate and Ultimate 
Analyses of North Carolina 

Peats 68 



c 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

(Plates are in pocket) 



Plate 



1. Isopach map of Dismal 

Swamp peats 

2. Isopach map of Albemarle - 

Pamlico peninsula peats 

3. Isopach map of Croatan 

Forest peats 



Page 



Page 



Figure 



Figure 



1. Map showing location of 

fuel-grade peat deposits of 

North Carolina 2 

2. Frequency distribution of 

peat thickness in coastal 

swamp or pocosin peats 4 

3. Relation of peat heating 

values to ash content 7 

4. Frequency distribution of 

range of 287 sets of 

triplicate bulk density 

determinations of North 

Carolina peats 8 

5. Frequency distribution of 

bulk densities of North 

Carolina peats 9 

6. Bulk density - moisture 

relation of North Carolina 

peats 10 

7. Relation of bulk density to 

depth of North Carolina 

peats 11 

8. Relation of bulk density to 

total thickness of North 

Carolina peats 11 

9. Isopach map of Gull Rock 

peat 17 

10. Isopach map of Van Swamp 

peat 19 

1 1 . Isopach map of Bay City - 

Gum Swamp peat 21 

12. Isopach map of Light Ground 

Pocosin peat 22 

13. Isopach map of Open Grounds 

Pocosin peat 24 

14. Isopach map of Hofmann 

Forest peat 27 



15. Isopach map of Angola Swamp 

peat 29 

16. Isopach map of Holly Shelter 

Swamp peat 30 

17. Isopach map of Green Swamp 

peat 32 

18. Distribution of Carolina 

bays longer than 800 ft in 

North Carolina. From Prouty, 

1952 34 

19. Index to maps showing Caro- 

lina bays with peat 36 

20. Carolina bays - map 1 36 

21. Carolina bays - map 2 37 

22. Carolina bays - map 3 37 

23. Carolina bays - map 4 38 

24. Carolina bays - map 5 39 

25. Carolina bays - map 6 40 

26. Carolina bays - map 7 40 

27. Carolina bays - map 8 41 

28. Carolina bays - map 9 42 

29. Carolina bays - map 10 43 

30. Carolina bays - map 11 44 

31. Carolina bays - map 12.... 45 

32. Carolina bays - map 13 45 

33. Carolina bays - map 14 46 

34. Carolina bays - map 15 46 

35. Carolina bays - map 16 47 

36. Carolina bays - map 17 47 

37. Carolina bays - map 18 48 

38. Carolina bays - map 19 48 

39. Isopach map of Chowan River 

peats 57 

40. Map showing location of 

Roanoke River peats 59 

41. Isopach map of Cape Fear 

River peats near Wilmington 59 



in 



TABLES 



Page 



Table 



Page 



Table 



1 . Peat types based on degree 21 . 

of decomposition (humifica- 

tion) 4 22. 

2. Summary of composition and 

heating values of North 

Carolina peats 6 23. 

3. Comparison of North Carolina, 

Maine, and Minnesota peats 6 24. 

4. Carbon- 14 ages of basal peats 

in North Carolina 13 

5. Time-distribution of Carbon- 25. 

14 ages of basal peats in 

North Carolina 13 26. 

6. Composition and heating 

values of Dismal Swamp 

peats 14 27. 

7. Peat resources of Dismal 

Swamp 14 28. 

8. Composition and heating 

values of Albemarle -Pamlico 29. 

peninsula peats 16 

9. Peat resources in Albemarle- 30. 

Pamlico peninsula 16 

10. Composition and heating 

values of Gull Rock peats 18 31. 

1 1 . Peat resources in Gull Rock 

area 18 32. 

12. Composition and heating 

values of Van Swamp peats 18 

13. Peat resources in Van Swamp 19 

14. Composition and heating 33. 

values of Bay City - Gum 

Swamp peats 20 

15. Peat resources in Bay City - 34. 

Gum Swamp 20 

16. Composition and heating 35. 

values of Light Ground 

Pocosin peats 23 

17. Peat resources in Light 36. 

Ground pocosin 23 

18. Composition and heating 37. 

values of Open Grounds 

Pocosin peats • 23 

19. Peat resources in Open 

Grounds Pocosin 25 38. 

20. Composition and heating 

values of Croatan Forest 

peats 25 



Peat resources in Croatan 

Forest 26 

Composition and heating 

values of Hofmann Forest 

peats 28 

Peat resources in Hofmann 

Forest 28 

Composition and heating 

values of Angola Swamp 

peats 28 

Peat resources in Angola 

Swamp 29 

Composition and heating 

values of Holly Shelter 

Swamp peats 30 

Peat resources in Holly 

Shelter Swamp 31 

Composition and heating 

values of Green Swamp peats 31 

Peat resources in Green 

Swamp 33 

Composition and heating 

values of Carolina bay 

peats 35 

Carolina bays with the most 

peat thicker than 4 ft 35 

List of Carolina bays 

showing maximum thickness, 

moisture and ash content, 

and peat resources 49 

Composition and heating 

values of Chowan River 

peats 58 

Peat resources (partial) in 

Chowan River floodplain 58 

Composition and heating 

values of Cape Fear River 

peats 60 

Peat resources (partial) in 

Cape Fear River floodplain 60 

Composition and heating 

values of tidal marsh peats 

from lower Cape Fear River 

estuary 61 

North Carolina peat 

resources 61 



IV 



PEAT DEPOSITS OF NORTH CAROLINA 



By ROY L. INGRAM 



ABSTRACT 

Fuel-grade peat is an accumulation of partially 
decomposed plant material that has less than 25 
percent non-combustible material (ash). In eastern 
North Carolina peat has formed in the past 10,000 
years in swamps or pocosins (coastal swamps), 
Carolina bays, and river floodplains. Most of the 
peat is found at the surface with no over-burden 
and usually ranges in thickness from 1 to 15 ft 
with an average of 4 1/2 ft. 

North Carolina peats are moderately to highly 
decomposed (hemic or sapric peats) and are usually 
black and fine-grained. The moisture content 
averages about 84 percent but usually increases 
from the surface downward, reflecting the seasonal 
up and down movement of the water table. The 
mean ash content of the fuel-grade peats is about 
7.4 percent, but ash contents of less than 5 percent 
are common in most peat deposits. Heating values 
average 10,100 Btu/lb on a moisture-free basis. 
Proximate analyses show that North Carolina peats 
average 35 percent fixed carbon and 60 percent 
volatiles; and ultimate analyses show averages of 
60 percent carbon, 5.0 percent hydrogen, 28 
percent oxygen, 1.4 percent nitrogen, and 0.2 
percent sulfur. Compared to most coals, peat is a 
low-sulfur fuel. 

In the calculation of peat reserves/resources, 
volumes of peat must be multiplied by bulk 
density, the moisture-free weight per unit volume 
of in situ peat. Bulk densities primarily reflect 
the moisture content and range from 50 to 400 
moisture-free tons per acre-foot with an average of 
about 200 tons. The accuracy of the calculation of 
peat reserves/resources is highly dependent on the 
knowledge of local bulk densities. 

Fuel-grade peat deposits cover about 677,000 
acres (1060 sq mi) in coastal North Carolina with 
total resources of about 500 million tons of 
moisture-free peat. Of this total, about 284,000 
acres (444 sq mi) with 319 million tons are 
underlain by peat greater than 4 ft thick. Peat 
resources are concentrated in the pocosins or 
coastal swamps of northeastern North Carolina with 



the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula having 55 
percent of the resources and the Dismal Swamp, 11 
percent. The remaining coastal swamp deposits are 
small but significant. Although 96 Carolina bays 
have peat, only 46 have peat greater than 4 ft thick; 
and only one has more than 1 million tons of peat. 
None of the river floodplain peats located were very 
large, continuous, or of high quality. 



INTRODUCTION 

The petroleum crisis of the early 1970's led to 
a national reevaluation of alternative energy 
resources within the United States. One neglected 
energy resource that is in abundant supply in 
many parts of the country, including North 
Carolina, is peat. In addition to its common use as 
a soil conditioner, peat can be used as a fuel for 
direct combustion replacing coal and as a chemical 
feedstock in the production of synthetic gasoline, 
gas, and alcohol. (U.S. Department of Energy, 1979; 
Punwani and Weatherly, 1980). 

Because the location, thickness, quantity, and 
quality of peat deposits of the United States was 
known only in a general way (Soper and Osbon, 
1922; Cameron, 1973; Farnham, 1980), the U.S. 
Department of Energy started a program in the late 
1970's to inventory the fuel-grade peat deposits of 
the United States. The work presented in this 
report results from field work from 1979 to 1983 
supported by grants from the U.S. Department of 
Energy and the North Carolina Energy Institute. 

Peat is a brown to black, unconsolidated 
deposit of partially decomposed and disintegrated 
plant material that has accumulated in 
water-saturated environments, such as swamps, 
marshes, bogs, and fens. Most peats contain 
impurities of inorganic sediments that will not 
burn. Fuel-grade peat is defined as peat that has 
less than 25% of noncombustible material (ash). 
Figure 1 shows the location of the fuel-grade peat 
deposits of North Carolina. 



DISMAL SWP. 



PAMLIMARLE PEN. 



GULL ROCK 

Jj 

VAN SWP. 




BAY CITY POC 
- GUM SWP. 



LIGHT GROUND POC 
OPEN GROUNDS POC. 



CROATAN FOR 
HOFMANN FOR. 
ANGOLA SWP. 
HOLLY SHELTER 



GREEN SWP. 



Figure 1. Map showing location of fuel-grade peat deposits of North Carolina. 



METHODS 
Field Methods 

As almost all of the peat deposits are found at 
the surface with no overburden, soils maps were 
used as guides in locating potential peat deposits. 
Areas shown as histosols (soils with more than 25 
percent organic matter and thicker than 16 
inches) 1 were investigated. In areas where 
fuel-grade peat (greater than 75 organic matter) 
was found, samples were taken at one-foot depth 
intervals using mainly a Macauley peat sampler 
(Raymond, 1979, p. 1-6), but sometimes with a 
Davis peat sampler, or a screw auger, down into the 
underlying mineral sediments (sand and/or clay). 
Samples were placed in water tight plastic bags and 



site locations were plotted on 1: 24,000 scale U.S. 
Geological Survey orthophotographic maps. 

At selected sites, larger samples (about 1 pint) 
were collected for proximate and ultimate analyses 
and for heating-value determinations. At other 
selected sites, samples of known volume (200 cc) 
were taken with a Macauley sampler for bulk 
density determinations. 

In order to cover the large areas of potential 
peat deposits within time and budget limitations, 
sampling was done at approximate one-half mile 
intervals along lines of "easiest" access (roads, 
"roads" along ditches, trails, etc.). Frequently 
there were no lines of easy access, and trails were 
cut through the swamp vegetation with machetes. 
In critical areas where peat thickness seemed to be 
changing rapidly, sample spacing was less than 



one-half mile. The maps in this report that show 
peat thicknesses are reasonably accurate. Users of 
these maps should realize the limitations imposed 
by the sample-site spacing and should consider 
supplementing these maps with additional 
closer-spaced sample-sites in selected areas. 

Laboratory Methods 

The moisture and ash content of nearly all 
samples (about 10,000) were determined by heating 
about lOg in 17 ml flat-bottom crucibles at 105°C 
until moisture-free (about 16 hours), and then by 
heating at 550° C until all the organic matter was 
burned (about 1 hour). 

Samples for bulk density (moisture-free weight 
per unit volume) determinations were collected in 
triplicate at one-foot depth intervals with a 
Macauley sampler with an inside diameter of 1 5/8 
inches (40.13 cm). One-foot sections of the 
Macauley core (200cc) were placed in pre-weighed 
moisture-tight and autoclavable containers and 
then, with the lid removed, heated at 105°C to 
constant weight (about 3 days). The calculated 
bulk density expressed as g/cc when multiplied by 
1360 will give the bulk density in moisture-free 
tons per acre-foot, or when multiplied by 1000 will 

7. 

give the bulk density as kg/m . 

Proximate analyses (moisture, volatile matter, 
fixed carbon, and ash), ultimate analyses (carbon, 
hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur), and 
heating-value (Btu/lb) determinations were made 
by the Coal Analysis Laboratory, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Grand 
Forks, North Dakota. Some analyses were provided 
by First Colony Farms, Creswell, N.C. (labelled FC 
in Appendix). 



NATURE OF NORTH CAROLINA PEAT 

Peat Types 

Peat is an accumulation of dead plant matter in 
swamps. The plant material gradually rots and 
decomposes, changing the original easily 
recognizable plant material into smaller and 
smaller particles. The theoretical end product of 
the decomposition or humification process is a peat 
"muck" composed entirely of microscopic organic 
particles with no recognizable plant fragments. 
There is, therefore, a continuum of peat types 
based . on the degree of decomposition 
(humification). Two schemes for classifying peat 



(Table 1) are based on. (1) fiber content (plant 
fragments larger than 0.15 mm), and (2) reaction to 
being squeezed, the Von Post 1 to 10 scale. 

Most North Carolina peats are moderately to 
highly decomposed (.hemic to sapric, or Von Post 5 
to 10). Cohen (1979) microscopically determined 
the fiber content of 98 samples from the 
Albermarle-Pamlico peninsula and found 54 
percent to be sapric, 33 percent hemic, and 13 
percent fibric. In another study, the Peat Institute 
of Leningrad, U.S.S.R., estimated the degree of 
decomposition of peats from North Carolina to be 

from 45 to 60 percent (Campbell, 1981). 

Two main types of peat are found in North 
Carolina: (1) an upper brownish black, fine 
grained, highly decomposed sapric peat that 
usually lies over (2) a lower dark reddish brown, 
decomposed somewhat fibrous sapric peat. When 
water saturated, both of these types have the 
general appearance and consistency of black axle 
grease or chocolate pudding. The black sapric peat 
dominates the upper 4 to 5 ft. As collected in the 
field, these peats appear to have very little 
macroscopic plant debris; but when wet sieved 
through a 0.5 mm sieve, however, a fair amount of 
wood fibers, leaves, seeds, and charcoal fragments 
are revealed. The upper black sapric peat probably 
accumulated in a swamp forest environment. The 
reddish brown, more fibrous peat is usually found 
beneath the black sapric peat in the deeper parts of 
peat-filled channels and the basal parts of broad 
shallow basins and probably accumulated in open 
shallow-water ponds and marshes. 

Both types of peat may contain varying amounts 
of wood as fallen logs and branches usually of 
white cedar and cypress. At places the wood 
content is high enough to interfere with the 
potential mining of the peat. For ten 2x2x2 ft 
samples in the top 4 ft of Albemarle-Pamlico 
peninsula peats, Cohen (1979) measured wood 
contents of 1 to 47 percent with a mean of 16 
percent on a dry-weight basis. 

In most of the deposits, the peat is found at the 
surface and continues down to the top of the 
underlying mineral sediment. The contact between 
the peat and the mineral sediment (sand and/or 
clay) is usually a transitional layer about 1 ft 
thick but may be 2 to 3 ft thick in some of the 
deeper, peat-filled channels: 

The median thickness of the peat is about 4 1/2 
ft with 90 percent of the peat being less than 7 ft 
thick. In places there are peat-filled channels that 
may be 15 to 20 ft thick (Fig. 2). 



TABLE 1. PEAT TYPES BASED ON DEGREE OF DECOMPOSITION (HUMIFICATION) 







Slightly 
Decomposed 




Moderately 
Decomposed 


Highly 
Decomposed 


I. 


USDA Name 1 

pet. Fiber > 0.15mm 


Fibric 
100 - 67 




Hemic 
67-33 


Sapric 
33-0 


II. 


Von Post No. 
A. Initial water 


1,2,3 
Abund, clear to 


ylw 


4,5,6,7 

It to muddy brn 


8,9,10 

little or none, blk 




B. Squeeze Test 


none 




to 50 pcL 


50tol00pcL 



Farnham and Finney, 1965 - modified USDA soil name. 

"von Post, 1924; Henderson and Doiron, 1981. 

Water released from a ball of peat that is repeatedly squeezed very lightly and gently, like 

squeezing an egg without breaking. 
i 
Amount of peat that escapes between fingers when peat ball is slowly but Firmly squeezed in a 

closed fist- 



Composition and Heating Value 

Table 2 summarizes and the Appendix gives 
details of the proximate and ultimate analyses of 
North Carolina peats. 

MOISTURE AND WATER BUDGET 

For about 8700 samples with less than 25 
percent ash from nearly all of the peat deposits, 
the moisture content ranged up to 95 percent with a 
mean of 84 percent. The mean moisture content of 
individual deposits ranged from 73 to 88 percent. 
This measured difference between individual 
deposits may not be real, however, as samples were 
collected over a four-year period with varying 
positions of the water table. The moisture content 
is related to several variables, which are often 
interrelated: (1) depth, (2) total thickness of the 
peat, (3) distance from drainage channels, (4) 
botanical composition, (5) degree of decomposition, 
and (6) precipitation and evapotranspiration 
(seasons). 

The moisture content in general increases with 
depth. The water table moves up and down reacting 
to variations in precipitation and 
evaporation-transpiration. The normal low 

position of the water table divides a peat bed into 
two parts: (1) an upper "acrotelm", and (2) a lower 
"catotelm" (Ingram, H., 1978; Ingram, H. and Bragg, 
1984). In the lower catotelm or inactive zone, the 
peat is permanently saturated with high moisture 
contents usually in the 85 to 95 percent range. 
Variations in moisture content (40 to 85 percent) 
are greatest in the upper acrotelm or active zone, 
the upper 3 to 5 ft through which the water table 



moves up and down. Samples collected from the 
active zone at the same site and depth but at 
different times can have widely different moisture 
contents. Elevation can also influence the moisture 
content as peats near sea level have a limited range 
of possible thicknesses of the active zone. 

The less decomposed (more fibrous) peats have 
a higher water-holding-capacity than the more 
decomposed (less fibrous) peats and therefore have 
a higher potential moisture content. The type of 
vegetation from which peat is derived also 
influences the water-holding-capacity and the 
potential moisture content. 

The more variable, and usually lower, moisture 
content of the top 3 to 5 ft, the acrotelm or active 
zone, is related to the fluctuations in the position 
of the water table as the result of changing 
relationships between precipitation and 



10 



% THICKER THAN (BY HOLES) 
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 



90 100 



~ 6 

t 7 

«/> 8 
if) 



o 10 
F II 



2! 



Figure 2. Frequency distribution of peat thickness in coastal 
swamp or pocosin peats. 



evapo-transpiration, and the irreversible collapse 
of capillary openings as water is removed from the 
peat. The commonly observed increase in moisture 
content at depths of 3 to 5 ft probably represents 
the position of the normal seasonal low position of 
the water table. Once partially dehydrated, peat 
cannot fully re-hydrate. The moisture content in 
the near-surface active zone varies with seasonal 
changes in precipitation and especially 
evapo-transpiration. In general, the moisture 
content and the water table are higher in winter 
than in summer. During summer months when 
temperatures are high and vegetation is fully 
leafed-out, evaporation and transpiration are 
highest, which results in a falling water table and a 
lower moisture content of the near-surface peat. 
During winter months when temperatures are low 
and much of the swamp vegetation is dormant, 
evapo-transpiration is low, and the moisture 
content of the peat can be replenished as the water 
table rises closer to the surface. 

Many of the moisture and hydrologic 
characteristics of peatlands are best understood by 
an analysis of the water budget equation: 

P = R + S + ET + G, 

where: 

P = precipitation 

R = run-off (surface run-off + rapid 
near-surface lateral flow) 

S = temporary storage, or soak-in, which 
causes water table to rise 

ET = evaporation and transpiration 

G = seepage from base of peat into ground 
water system beneath peat. 
In eastern North Carolina annual precipitation 
averages about 50 in. but may vary from 30 to 70 
in. (Heath, 1975). On an average about 70 percent 
of the annual precipitation ultimately is returned 
to the atmosphere by evapo-transpiration, about 30 
percent is disposed of by run-off, and less than 1 
percent seeps from the peat into the underlying 
ground water system (Heath, 1975; Daniel, 1981; 
Vandenberg, and Knoerr 1983; Gale and Adams, 
1984). The water that is temporarily stored is 
ultimately disposed of, mainly by evapo- 
transpiration. 

The water budget equation can be used to 
analyze many different situations. For example, 
when the water table is high, there is little room 
for storage so that most of the precipitation 
becomes run-off. When the water table is low, 
there is room for storing much precipitation which 
causes a decrease in run-off. In general, run-off is 
highest during the winter and lowest during the 



summer. 

In a natural undisturbed peatland, there is 
usually an upper layer about 1 ft thick that has a 
relatively high hydraulic conductivity and through 
which water can flow rapidly both vertically and 
laterally. This layer has developed openings 
through which water can flow because of surface 
drying and cracking and the presence of a porous 
root mat system. Hydraulic conductivities are in 
the range of 360 to 12,000 cm/day. Below this 
upper layer, hydraulic conductivity decreases very 
rapidly in an exponential manner (Ingram, H. and 
Bragg, 1984). Below the acrotelm or active zone, 
water-saturated peat is essentially impervious 
which basically isolates water in the peat from the 
underlying ground water system. Measured 

hydraulic conductivities in the catotelm or inactive 
zone are in the range of 0.2 to 3.0 cm/day (Daniel, 
1981; Gilliam and Skaggs, 1981; Skaggs, and others, 
1982; Gregory, and others, 1984). 

ASH 

Organic-rich sediments, including peat, are 
composed of organic matter and inorganic matter. 
When burned the organic matter is consumed 
leaving the inorganic matter as "ash". Most of the 
ash is usually sand, silt, and clay that was washed 
or blown into the peat swamp. Some of the ash, 
however, can come from living organisms. Many 
plants contain small amounts of minute pieces of 
opaline silica and other inorganic compounds such 
as weddellite, a calcium oxalate (Sawyer and 
Griffin, 1983; Griffin and others, 1984). Swamp 
and swamp-lake waters can also contain variable 
amounts of living diatoms, an algae with cell walls 
that contain microscopic pieces of silica. Silica 
from diatoms can be abundant in peat. 

For about 8,700 samples with ash less than 25 
percent from essentially all of the peat deposits of 
North Carolina, the mean ash content was 7.4 
percent. The mean ash content of individual 
deposits ranged from 5 to 12 percent. In nearly all 
of the deposits, ash contents are highest in 
transition zones near the edges and bottoms of the 
deposits. Away from the edges and bottoms of the 
peat deposits, ash contents of less than 5 percent 
are common. At the base of most peat deposits 
there is a transition zone from low-ash peat to 
high-ash peat to mineral sediment (clay-silt-sand). 
Normally the transition zone is less than 1 ft thick; 
but beneath some of the thicker channel-fill peats, 
the transition zone may be 2 to 4 ft thick. 



HEATING VALUE 

The heating value of over 400 samples with less 
than 25 percent ash ranged from 7,400 to 11,600 
Btu/lb with a median of 10,100 (Table 2 and 
Appendix). The median of individual deposits 
ranged from 9,200 to 10,600 Btu/lb. 



TABLE 2. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) AND 
HEATING VALUES OF NORTH CAROLINA PEAT 
(408 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 



Low 



Median 



High 



BTU/LB 1 


7,400 


H 2 


40 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS l 




Volatiles 


47 


Fixed Carbon 


26 


Ash 


1 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 2 




C 


46 


H 


3.7 


«) 


19 


N 


0.4 


S 


0.1 


Ash 


1 



Moisture-free basis. 
^Tie mean moisture content of about 8700 samples with less than 25 percent 
ash was 85 percent. 

-3 

The mean ash content of about 8700 samples with less than 25 percent ash 
was 7.4 percent 



the peats of the cooler northern regions and, 
therefore, have higher heating values. For example, 
Minnesota peats average about 8,900 Btu/lb and 
Maine peats average about 9,600 Btu/lb as 
compared to about 10,100 Btu/lb for North Carolina J 
peats (Table 3). 



TABLE 3. COMPARISON OF AVERAGE COMPOSITION (WEIGHT 

PERCENT) OF MOISTURE-FREE PEATS WITH LESS THAN 
25 PERCENT ASH FROM NORTH CAROLINA, MAINE, 
AND MINNESOTA « 



North Carolina 



Maine 



Minnesota 



00 
83 


11,600 
95 


BTU/LB 

PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 


10,100 
83 






Volatiles 


60 


60 
35 


68 

45 
24 


Fixed Carbon 
Ash 

ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 


35 
5 






C 


60 


60 


66 


11 


5.0 


5.0 


6.3 


O 


28 


28 


35 


N 


1.4 


1.4 


2.6 


S 


0.2 


0.2 


2.9 


Ash 


5 


*5 


24 







9600 


8900 


90 


90 


67 


64 


29 


27 


4 


9 


56 


52 


5.6 


5.3 


32 


31 


1.9 


2.3 


0.3 


0.4 


4 


9 



This report, Table 2, 408 samples. 
"Davis, Anderson, and Cameron, 1980, 147 samples. 
^Minnesota Peat Inventory Project (1980, p. 18) and (1982, p. 27), 493 samples. 



PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 



The heating value of peat is controlled by 
several variables, the main one being the ash 
content. As the organic matter in peat is diluted 
with ash components, heating values decline (Fig. 
3). For a given ash content, however, there is a 
considerable range in heating values. Work by 
Luukkanen (1984) and others has shown that the 
botanical composition and the degree of 
decomposition of the peat also influences heating 
values. The heating value of moisture-free original 
plant material varies from 7,000 to 9,400 Btu/lb 
depending on the type of plant and the part of the 
plant. According to Luukkanen, the main 

controlling factor is the amount of bitumen which 
varies from 1 to 20 percent and is highest in 
certain types of plants, especially dwarf shrubs, 
and in the leaves of plants. With increasing 
decomposition or humification of peat, the bitumen 
content, and therefore the heating value, increases. 
Decomposition is more advanced in the peats of 
North Carolina and other southern states than in 



North Carolina peats with less than 25 percent 
ash average 35 percent fixed carbon and 60 percent 
volatiles, but there is considerable variation 
between samples and between deposits (Table 2 and 
Appendix). The fixed carbon ranged from 26 to 45 
percent between samples and from averages of 32 to 
39 percent between deposits. The volatiles ranged 
from 47 to 68 percent between samples and from 52 
to 62 percent between deposits. The reasons for 
these variations are not fully known. Part, but not 
all, of the variations reflect variations in ash 
content; but differences in botanical composition 
and degree of decomposition probably are also 
important. 

In the coalification process (vegetation to peat 
to coal), generally fixed carbon and heating value 
increase and volatiles decrease. These trends are 
evident when the less decomposed Minnesota peats 
are compared with the more decomposed North 
Carolina peats (Table 3). 



10 



o 
o 
o 

X 

CD 



3 



8 



• 
















••••• 


• 


w ' ■■■■ ■ ■ 












•• * * 




• 












•• • 
• • 


•• 














• 
• 


J 


, • . 


• 
• 












• 


• 


1 
















• 


• 
















• 


• 
















• 
1 


• 
















• 

• 


• 



10 20 30 

%ASH (MOISTURE- FREE) 



Figure 3. Relation of peat heating values to ash content of North Carolina peats. 



ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 

The major elements in North Carolina peats 
with less than 25 percent ash average 60 percent 
carbon, 5.0 percent hydrogen, and 28 percent 
oxygen, but there is considerable variation between 
samples and between deposits (Table 3 and 
Appendix). The carbon content ranged from 46 to 
66 percent between samples and from 54 to 63 



percent between deposits. The hydrogen content 
ranged from 3.7 to 6.3 percent between samples and 
from 3.9 to 5.5 percent between deposits. The 
oxygen content ranged from 19 to 35 percent 
between samples and from 24 to 30 percent between 
deposits. As with the ultimate analyses, these 
variations reflect differences in ash content and 
probably differences in botanical composition and 
degree of decomposition. 



The nitrogen content averages 1.4 percent with 
a range of 0.4 to 2.6 percent between samples and a 
range of 0.8 to 1.8 percent between deposits. North 
Carolina peats have a somewhat lower nitrogen 
content than those of Minnesota and Maine (Table 
3) and about the same nitrogen content as a typical 
coal (Cady, 1977). 

The sulfur content averages 0.2 percent with a 
range of 0.1 to 2.9 percent between samples and a 
range of 0.2 to 0.4 percent between deposits. Only 
7 of over 400 samples had sulfur in excess of 1 
percent, the upper boundary of low-sulfur coal 
(Averitt, 1973). Most of the peats with the higher 
sulfur contents apparently have been subjected to 
marine or brackish waters during their 
development with the sulfur coming from the 
sulfates found in sea water. All of the tidal marsh 
organic sediments had above average sulfur (0.6 to 
1.4 percent). 

TRACE ELEMENTS 

No work was done on trace elements for his 
study. Interested readers are referred to Daniel 
(1981); Evans and others (1984); North Carolina 
Department of Natural Resources (1983); Gough and 
others (1979); and Shacklette and Boerngen (1984). 

Daniel (1981) analyzed 49 peat samples from 
Dare County for 83 elements and found 15 elements 
below instrumental detection limits and 68 
elements above detection limits. He concluded that 
the concentration and distribution of elements in 
these peats are very similar to those found in coal. 
Of the 68 detectable elements, 61 had 
concentration less than the average for rocks of the 
earth's crust. 



pH 



Natural drainage waters from undisturbed peat 
are typically high in humic acids and low in pH. 
The natural pH of undeveloped peat soils is mainly 
in the range of 3.4 to 4.2 (Barnes, 1981; Skaggs and 
others, 1980; Gregory and others, 1984) with an 
average of about 3.8 (Gilliam and Skaggs, 1981). 
Higher values are found near bodies of brackish 
water (Cohen, 1979). 

Normal rainwater (rainwater in equilibrium 
with ambient levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide) 
has a pH of 5.6. Precipitation in eastern North 
Carolina has pH values of 4.5 to 5 (Heath, 1975). 



Bulk Density 

In order to calculate the weight of peat in a 
given deposit or area, the volume of peat must be 
multiplied by the bulk density of the peat 
(moisture-free weight per unit volume). The 
accuracy of resource or reserve calculations 
depends greatly on the accuracy of the bulk 
densities used in tr|e calculations (Bastin and 
Davis, 1909; Ingram, 1984; Ijas and others, 1984; 
Largin, 1984; Klemetti and Keys; 1983). 

The bulk density of peat is not only not 
constant but is highly variable, reflecting 
primarily varying moisture contents. Moisture, 
and therefore bulk density, changes with time and 
also varies with vertical and horizontal position 
within a peat body. In order to determine the 
magnitude and variability of the bulk density of 
North Carolina peat, samples were collected at 
about 70 sites in triplicate at one-foot vertical 
intervals with a Macauley peat sampler. 

Triplicate samples at each depth were taken as 
close together as possible and usually within a 
radius of 5 to 10 ft. The presence of buried logs 
prevented sampling from within a pre-determined 
radius. For the 287 sets of triplicate samples (or a 
total of 861 samples), the difference between the 
high and low values of bulk density ranged from 2 
to 132 moisture-free tons per acre-foot with a 
median of 28, a mean of 32, and a standard 
deviation of 23 (Fig. 4). At a given point within a 
peat deposit, local lateral variations in bulk 
density are of considerable magnitude. 

For 888 bulk density determination of peat 
with less than 25 percent ash that include most of 



ioo 



00 



3? 



60 



< 

_) 

2 40 

3 

o 



20 - 



































































M 
M 
S' 


T/AF KG/MS 
EDIAN 26 2 1 














EAN 32 24 
rr> dfv ?* 1 7 


























































































































































u— 1 


—J 







30- 



20 



< 

(T 

o 

X 



10 



v O 20 40 60 80 IOO 120 

RANGE OF BULK DENSITY, TONS/ACRE-FT.O % H 2 

Figure 4. Frequency distribution of range of 287 sets of 
triplicate bulk density determinations of North 
Carolina peats. 



the peat deposits in North Carolina, bulk densities 
ranged from 50 to 400 moisture-free tons per 
acre-foot with a median of 170 and a mean of 177 
(Fig. 5). About two-thirds of the determinations 
fall between 110 and 240. Variations in bulk 
density are considerable. 




IOO 200 300 

BULK DENSITY - TONS/ACRE-FT, % H 2 

Figure 5. Frequency distribution of bulk densities of North 
Carolina peats. 902 samples from 68 sites. 



(Klemetti and Keys, 1982; Ijas and others, 1984). 
Some reported values and some projected value of 
D are slightly above 1.0 g/cc while others are 

slightly below. Therefore, as a simplistic first 
approximation, D Q can be assigned a value of 1.0 

g/cc =1.0 T/cu m = 1,000 kg/cu m = 10,000 T/ha-m 
= 1,360 t/acre-ft. The equations for the density- 
moisture straight line then become: 

D = - 0.01M + 1, if D in g/cc or T/m3 

D = - 10.0M + 1,000, if D in kg/m3 

D = - 100 M + 10,000, if D in T/ha-m 

D = - 13.6M + 1,360, if D in tons/acre-ft. 

The points on Figure 6 that fall distinctly 
below the line are mainly from samples taken a 
depths of less than 3 or 4 ft. At shallow depths 
when the water table is low, water can apparently 
be removed by evapo-transpiration without 
concurrent compaction. Estimates of bulk density 
of the upper 3 to 4 ft based on moisture content are 
generally 10 to 40 percent too high, but this varies 
depending on the depth to the water table. 

Although there is much variation, bulk density 
decreases with depth reflecting the fact that, in 
general, the moisture content increases with depth 
(Fig.7). 

Except for very thin layers of peat (1 to 2 ft), 
the bulk density also decreases with increasing 
total thickness of the peat, which again reflects the 
increase in moisture with depth (Fig. 8). For thin 
layers of peat at the surface, the bulk density is 
low probably because of a better developed 
root-mat system. 

Calculation of Peat Reserves/Resources 



An almost linear relationship exists between 
the bulk density (D) and the percent moisture (M) 
(Fig. 6). The bulk density at 100 percent moisture 
is by definition zero, and the bulk density at zero 
percent moisture (Do) is the density of pure 
moisture-free peat matter. The equation of the 
straight line connecting the two points is therefore: 



D, 



D= - 



100 



M + D 



o 



Reported measurements of the density of 
moisture-free, highly compressed peat (D Q ) are 

scarce (Bastin and Davis, 1909; Ingram, 1984). 
Other values of D can be estimated by projecting 

Density-Moisture curves to zero percent moisture 



In order to calculate the weight of peat in a 
given deposit, volume of peat must be multiplied by 
bulk density. Final results are no more accurate 
than the accuracy of the determination of these two 
components. Standard rules concerning retention 
of significant figures for observations and 
calculations must be followed to avoid giving false 
impressions of accuracy (Snedecor, 1946, p. 
95-97). 

For first approximations some average figure 
for bulk density can be used for all deposits, or an 
average can be estimated for a given deposit or 
area. For North Carolina peats the best overall 
average is probably about 200 moisture-free tons 
per acre-foot. The mean value of about 900 
determinations of bulk density was 177 tons per 
acre-foot (Fig. 5). But the average moisture content 



100 



90 



rr 

3 
H 

(S) 



80 



70 

























• *vl^ 


^W^r ■ 


















• 




■■" ^Sv 








1 










' 


























'• 




• 















































100 200 300 400 

BULK DENSITY (DRY TONS/ACRE-FOOT) 

Figure 6. Bulk density-moisture relation of North Carolina peats. 



500 



of about 9,000 samples was 84 percent, which 
corresponds to a bulk density of 225 tons per 
acre-foot (Fig. 6). A compromise is 200 tons per 
acre-foot, which is the figure arrived at by Bastin 
and Davis (1909) for Maine peats. 

There is no unique or best way for determining 
and combining volumes and bulk densities to 
obtain peat reserves/resources. For this report, 
however, the following scheme was used for each 
individual deposit (an area surrounded by a 
zero-foot isopach line): (1) Areas of each isopach 
interval (0 to 2 ft, 2 to 4 ft, etc) were measured 
with a Lasico Model L1250D rolling disc 
planimeter on maps of scale 1: 24,000. (2) Each 
area was multiplied by the average thickness of the 
isopach interval (1 ft for to 2 ft, 3 ft for 2 to 4 ft, 
etc.) to obtain the volume of peat for that interval. 
These volumes are for all of the peat from the 
surface down to the bottom of the peat. (3) Each 
isopach-interval volume is then multiplied by the 
average bulk density of that isopach interval to 



obtain the weight of peat in that interval. As 
explained in the preceding section, bulk density is 
extremely variable and is usually the weakest link 
in the calculation of peat reserves/resources. For 
this report three sets of bulk density related to 
thickness (isopach interval) were considered and 
intuitively "averaged" to obtain a "best estimate". 
These three sets of bulk density are: (a) mean for 
all North Carolina peats (0 to 2 ft - 200 tons per 
acre-foot; 2 to 4 ft - 220; 4 to 6 ft - 190; 6 to 8 ft - 
160; 8 to 10 ft - 140, > 10 ft - 120). See Figure 8. 

(b) Average of bulk densities for each isopach 
interval actually determined for that deposit, and 

(c) bulk densities estimated from moisture-content 
(Fig. 6). (4) The total peat reserves/resources is 
the sum of the reserves/resources of all the isopach 
intervals. Using this procedure estimates are 
probably accurate to within ± 25 percent. 

For most accurate estimates, especially for 
smaller areas being considered for commercial 
development of peat, bulk density determination 



10 



BULK DENSITY, TONS/ACRE-FT.O %H 2 
50 100 150 200 




N 
39 

140 

191 

177 

119 

84 

51 

33 

14 

12 

28 



Figure 7. Relation of bulk density to depth of North 
Carolina peats. 

must be made of the full range of locations, depths, 
and thicknesses. The practical limit of 

reserve/resource estimation is probably ± 10 
percent. 

Uses of Peat 

Based on its physical and chemical properties, 
peat has a large number of potential uses. Most of 
these potential uses depend upon the fact that most 
peat is fine-grained, fibrous woody material and is 
composed of a complex of carbon, hydrogen, and 
oxygen compounds. 

AS ORGANIC MATTER FOR AGRICULTURAL USES 

Peat can be used as a soil conditioner to 
improve the texture and water-holding capacity of 
soils. It can also be used in potting soils, in 
fertilizer mixes, as a mulch, as plant-packing 
material, in peat pots, as litter in stables and 
barnyards, as a substrate for mushroom culture, 
and as a medium for earthworm culture. Because of 
the insulating properties and antiseptic nature, 
peat can be used as a preservative material for 
packing fruits and vegetables. The preservative 
nature of peat is illustrated by the fact that several 



centuries-old human bodies have been found in 
well-preserved condition in the peat bogs of Europe 
(Parmalee and McCort, 1905; Wakesman and others, 
1943). Hydrolyzed peat is also being used as a 
substrate for fungal growth to mass produce 
food-yeast protein primarily as cattle food. In the 
Soviet Union in 1980 there were 95 plants 
producing over one million tons per year of such 
food yeast (Fuchsman, 1980; Martin, 1982). 

AS FUEL FOR DIRECT COMBUSTION 

The major use of peat has been as a fuel for 
direct combustion to produce heat. For centuries 
dried peat slabs have been used locally as a wood 
substitute for cooking and home heating in Ireland, 
Scotland, Scandinavia, and the Soviet Union. In 
Scotland smoky peat fires are used to dry sprouted 
barley in the manufacture of Scotch Whiskey. In 
Ireland, Finland, and the Soviet Union are many 
peat-fired electrical plants. In 1977 the Soviet 
Union had 76 such plants, some producing as much 
as 700 megawatts (Punwani and Weatherly, 1980). 
In Finland the excess heat from generating 
electricity is often used for district home heating. 
In Finland peat briquettes are used for home 
heating and for fuel in a variety of types of 
industrial boilers. 



BULK DENSITY, TONS/ACRE-FT, 0%H 2 
50 100 150 200 250 



Ld 

Id 



co 5 

CO 
Ld 

o 

x 7 
I- 

8 

9 

10 

>IO 





















\ 










1 

1 




























/J 





























<*</ 










"X. 






1 


t^ 







N 



4 1 
179 
141 
150 
104 
118 
23 
27 
105 



Figure 8. Relation of bulk density to total thickness of North 
Carolina peats. 



11 



AS CHEMICAL FEEDSTOCK 

Because of its high H/C ratio and very reactive 
nature, peat makes an excellent feedstock for the 
manufacture of synthetic compounds of carbon, 
hydrogen, and oxygen, including synthetic natural 
gas, gasoline, alcohol, benzene, phenol, tars, peat 
coke, activated carbon, etc. (Punwani and 

Weatherly, 1980). 

There are claims, especially in the eastern 
block of European nations, that some peat extracts 
have curative powers in the treatment of a variety 
of human and animal ailments (Solovyeva and 
Lotosch, 1984; Lishtvan, 1981). One such 

preparation called "Torfot" or "Torfenal" is said to 
be useful in treating psoriasis, eczema, 
neurodermatis, etc. In Poland there are 16 spas 
that treat "patients" in heated peat baths 
(Robertson, 1980). 



geologic processes. On a world-wide basis most 
peats are in the northern part of the northern 
hemisphere and have accumulated during the last ■ 
10,000 years in swamps created by Pleistocene 
glaciation. The glaciers created swamps by 
scouring out shallow depressions or by blocking 
drainage. None of the North Carolina peats are of 
this origin as Pleistocene glaciers extended no 
farther south than the approximate position of the 
Ohio River and Long Island. 

Fuel-grade peat deposits of North Carolina occur 
in 3 main geologic settings: (1) coastal swamps or 
pocosins, (2) Carolina bays, and (3) river 
floodplains. Highly organic sediments are present 
in many of the tidal marshes, but most have more 
than 25 percent ash although than are some small 
areas with low-ash peat. 

Coastal Swamps or Pocosins 



AS ABSORBING, ADSORBING, AND FILTERING 
MATERIAL 

The ability of peat to absorb, adsorb, and filter 
substances makes it useful in removing 
undesirable materials in a variety of 
circumstances; for example, the treatment of 
industrial waste waters to remove heavy metals, 
oils, fats, detergents, phosphates, bacteria, and 
particulate matter; the cleaning-up of oil spills; 
the treatment of sewerage waters in peat-sand 
mixtures or in natural bogs; the trapping of animal 
waste when used as litter in stalls and barnyards. 

AS CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL 

The insulating qualities and fibrous woody 
nature of peat makes it potentially useful in 
making peatpaper, peatboard, peatcork, peatcrete, 
and peatfoam. Well-preserved logs in peat also 
often make saw-logs for an unusual type of 
panelling (Ruel, et al, 1977). Peat is also used as a 
binder in pelletizing some types of iron ores. 



PEAT DEPOSITS 

Geologic Types 

Peat can accumulate in any situation where the 
rate of accumulation of dead vegetation exceeds the 
rate of decomposition. Normally this is in some 
type of swamp, bog, fen, or marsh. Such 
environments are created by a variety of surface 



During the Pleistocene Epoch, the time of the 
Great Ice Age, that began one to two million years 
ago, sea level rose as the glaciers melted during 
interglacial times and fell during glacial times. As 
a result the sea moved back and forth across the 
lower Coastal Plain several times. High stands of 
sea level are marked by sand ridges with steeper 
slopes on the seaward side. Between these sand 
ridges are broad relatively flat surfaces of the 
former sea floor. As these broad relatively flat 
surfaces are not completely flat, the low areas mark 
the places where swampy conditions and peat 
accumulation now occur. 

In addition about 18,000 years ago when the 
last ice age (Wisconsin ice age) was at its 
maximum, sea level was about 400 ft below present 
sea level and at the approximate position of the 
outer edge of the present continental shelf. During 
this interval of lowered sea level, the Coastal Plain 
was dissected by stream-downcutting resulting in a 
dendritic pattern of fairly deep stream valleys. 
From 18,000 to 10,000 BP the glaciers melted and 
sea level rose rapidly to about 90 ft below present 
sea level. Since 10,000 BP sea level has risen 
slowly to its present position. 

During the full glacial conditions of the late 
Wisconsin ice age, the climate in the southeastern 
United States was cooler, drier, and windier than at 
present. As the glaciers melted and retreated 
northward, the climate ameliorated becoming 
warmer and wetter. By 12,000 to 10,000 BP 
interglacial conditions had returned to eastern 
North Carolina, and it is about at this time that 
peat started to accumulate (Tables 4 and 5). Initial 



12 



TABLE 4. CARBON- 14 AGES OF BASAL PEATS IN NORTH CAROLINA 



Age-BP 


Depth 


Deposit 


Reference 


years 


ft 






1715 ±65 


3 


Albemarle-Pamlico 


Cohen, 1979 


1830 i 60 


8 


" 


" 


2585 ± 70 


12 


' 


' 


3205 ± 65 


13 


1 




3230 ± 70 


3 


1 


1 


3425 ± 85 


6 


' 


' 


3950 ± 85 


8 


■ 


1 


7920 ± 85 


5 


' 


' 


8190 ±85 


11 


' 


' 


8895 ± 150 


8 


■ 




9285 ± 95 


6 


Croatan 


Tietz, 1981 


4610 ± 80 


26 


Chowan River 


Witner, 1984 


2275 ± 85 


16 


Roanoke River 


Erlich, 1980 


2560 ± 105 


8 


' 


' 


3090 ± 100 


12 


' 


1 


3145 ±70 


10 


1 


' 


3495 ± 165 


22 


' 


' 


3780 ± 95 


17 


' 


' 


4780 ± 90 


23 


' 


' 


5410 ± 170 


25 


1 


' 


2480 ± 50 


9 


Cape Fear River 


Kronenfeld, 1982 



TABLE 5. TIME DISTRIBUTION OF CARBON- 14 AGES OF 
BASAL PEATS IN NORTH CAROLINA (FROM 
TABLE 4) 



Age-BP 

years 



No. of Locations 






- 1000 





1000 


- 2000 


2 


2000 


- 3000 


4 


3000 


- 4000 


8 


4000 


- 5000 


2 


5000 


- 6000 


1 


6000 


- 7000 





7000 


- 8000 


1 


8000 


- 9000 


2 


9000 


- 10000 


1 



peat accumulation began in shallow lakes and open 
freshwater marshes that mark the courses of the 
dendritic valley system. Most of the basal fibrous 
peats appear to have been formed from a variety of 
types of aquatic plants that accumulated in shallow 
lakes and marshes. The blocked channels became 
filled with peat and flooding of the adjacent 
low-lying areas began. This flooding created a 
large, flat wetland on which swamp forests became 
established and in which the vegetation, that 
eventually became the upper black sapric peat, 
accumulated. Limited ages of basal peats (Tables 4 
and 5) suggest that although major peat 



accumulation started 8,000 to 10,000 yr BP, the 
main period of accumulation was 2,000 to 5,000 yr 
BP. The warm humid climate of the Southeast has 
resulted in the peat becoming more highly 
decomposed than in the more northern areas 
(Baker, 1983; Barry, 1983; Bloom, 1983 a and b; 
Daniel, 1981; Davis, 1983; Harrison and others, 
1965; Lundelius, 1983; Oaks and Whitehead, 1979; 
Porter, 1983; Stoltman and Baerreis, 1983; 
Terasmae, 1977; Watts, 1983; Whitehead, 1972; 
Whitehead and Oaks, 1979; Zurek, 1984). 

DISMAL SWAMP 

Location — The Dismal Swamp peat deposits 
are located on the lower Coastal Plain of 
southeastern Virginia and northeastern North 
Carolina. This report covers only the part that lies 
in North Carolina (Fig. 1 and PI. 1). Peat is found 
in eastern Gates, northwestern Pasquotank, 
northern Camden, northwestern Currituck, and 
northeastern Perquimans counties and on eleven 7 
1/2 minute U.S. Geological Survey 
orthophotographic and/or topographic quadrangles: 
Corapeake, Lake Drummond SE, Lake Drummond SW, 
Moyock, Beckford NE, Beckford SE, South Mills NE, 
South Mills NW, South Mills SE, South Mills SW, 
and Elizabeth City NW. The deposits lie northwest 
and north of Elizabeth City. Access is by state and 
county roads and by numerous privately-owned 
canal maintenance roads. 

Topography and Drainage - Just west of the 
peat deposits and east of North Carolina Highway 
32 and County Road 1002 is a north-south trending 
sand ridge with elevations of 40 to 50 ft. The 
eastern front of this sand ridge is the Suffolk Scarp 
with a toe-elevation of about 20 ft. East of the 
Suffolk Scarp, the Pamlico Surface slopes gently 
eastward to elevations of 10 to 15 ft east of the 
pocosin peats. Surface elevations of most of the 
peat deposits are from 10 to 20 ft. 

Several small streams flow eastward down the 
Suffolk Scarp and disappear into the peat swamps. 
The headwaters of several rivers (Northwest, North, 
Pasquotank, Little, and Perquimans Rivers) are 
located in the Dismal Swamp peats and flow either 
eastward into Currituck Sound or southward into 
Albemarle Sound. 

Many miles of canals and ditches have been cut 
through the peat swamps. These canals lower the 
water table in the immediate vicinity of the canals 
and ditches; but because of the low hydraulic 
conductivity of the peat, the effect of the canals 
and ditches dies out rapidly away from them. 



13 



Moisture - For 1376 samples with ash less than 
25 percent the moisture content ranged from 40 to 
94 percent with an average of 81 percent (Table 6 
and Appendix). Although there is much variation, 
the moisture in general increases with depth, from 
an average of about 70 percent in the top foot to a 
fairly constant 90 ± percent at depths greater than 
5 ft. As most of the samples were collected during 
the summer months when maximum 
evapotranspiration causes a lowering of the water 
table, nearsurface samples collected during the 
winter months would undoubtedly have higher 
moisture contents. 



TABLE 6. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) AND 
HEATING VALUES OF DISMAL SWAMP PEAT 
(68 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Median 



High 



BTU/LB 1 

H 2 o2 


8,600 
60 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatiles 


so 


Fixed Carbon 


26 


Ash 2 


2 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


52 


II 


4.2 


() 


24 


N 


1.1 


S 


0.2 


Ash 2 


2 


Moisture-free basis 





10^00 
86 


11,000 
93 


62 


67 


M 


36 


5 


14 


58 


63 


5.5 


6.3 


28 


31 


1.8 


2.6 


03 

5 


0.8 
14 



For 1376 samples with ash less than 25 percent, the moisture content ranged 
from 40 to 94 percent with a mean of 8 1 percent; and the ash content 
ranged from 1 to 25 percent with a mean of 7 percent. 



Ash - For 1376 samples with ash less than 25 
percent, the mean ash content is 7 percent (Table 6 
and Appendix). Away from the margins and bases 
of the peat bodies, ash contents of 3 to 5 percent 
are common. The top foot of peat has an average ash 
content of 10 percent which probably reflects 
mineral sediment that is washed or blown in from 
surrounding cultivated fields since man has 
occupied the region. 

Heating Value and Composition - Table 6 
summarizes the heating value and proximate and 
ultimate analyses of 68 samples. Compared to the 
average North Carolina peat (Table 2), volatiles, 



hydrogen, and nitrogen are somewhat high, and 
fixed carbon is somewhat low. The sulfur content 
is highest in the basal parts of peat that is greater 
than 6 ft thick. 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Peat is found in 
4 areas that are physically separate (Plate 1): A- 
the Northeast deposit, B- the Northwest deposit, C- 
the Large Southwest deposit, and D- the Small 
Southwest deposit. Plate 1 shows the location, size, 
and variations in thickness of these deposits. 

Calculated peat resources are shown in Table 7. 
The combined deposits occupy an area of 76,800 
acres (120 sq mi) and contain 68 million tons of 
moisture-free peat. The peat greater than 4 ft 
thick occupies an area of 34,700 acres (54 sq mi) 
with 43 million tons of peat. 



TABLE 7. PEAT RESOURCES IN NORTH CAROLINA PART 
OF DISMAL SWAMP POCOSINS 



Thickness 
ft 



Area 
10^ acres 



A. The Northeast Deposit 



Weight 



(moisture-free) 



>0 




14.23 


11.40 


>2 




9.47 


9.98 


>4 




5.77 


6.98 


>6 




2.18 


3.03 


>8 




0.45 


0.73 


>10 










B. The Northwest Deposit 






>0 




29.87 


31.33 


>2 




26.53 


30.33 


>4 




17.64 


23.13 


>6 




11.13 


15.97 


>8 




3.97 


6.44 


>10 




0.05 


0.09 


>12 










C. The Large 


Southwest Deposit 




>0 




30.58 


23.86 


>2 




20.59 


20.87 


>4 




11.15 


13.32 


>6 




4.15 


5.52 


>S 










D. The Small Southwest Deposit 




>0 




2.16 


1.18 


>2 




1.04 


0.84 


>4 










E. TOTAL 








>0 




76.84 


67.77 


>2 




57.63 


62.02 


>4 




34.66 


43.43 


>6 




17.46 


24.52 


>8 




4.42 


7.61 


>10 




0.05 


0.09 


>12 











14 



ALBEMARLE-PAMLICO PENINSULA 

Location - See Figure 1 and Plate 2. The peat 
swamps of the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula are 
located on the lower Coastal Plain of northeastern 
North Carolina in Washington, Tyrrell, Dare, and 
Hyde counties and on twenty seven 7 1/2 minute 
U.S. Geological Survey orthophotographic or 
topographic quadrangles: Buffalo City, Columbia 
East, Creswell, Creswell SE, East Lake, East Lake 
SE, Engelhard East, Engelhard NE, Engelhard NW, 
Engelhard West, Fairfield, Fairfield NE, Fairfield 
NW, Fort Landing, Frying Pan, Long Shoal Point, 
Manns Harbor, New Lake, New Lake NW, New Lake 
SE, Plymouth East, Ponzer, Pungo Lake, Roper 
South, Scotia, Stumpy Point, and Wanchese. The 
deposits mainly lie south of U.S. Highway 64, north 
and west of U.S. 264, and east of N.C. 32 and 99. 
N.C. 94 between Columbia and Fairfield runs 
north-south through the middle of the area. Access 
to the deposits is by the state and county roads 
shown on Plate 2 and by numerous privately owned 
canal-maintenance roads. 

Topography and Drainage - Just west of the 
peat deposits and just off the map of Plate 2 is a 
north-south trending sand ridge with elevations of 
40 to 50 ft. The eastern side of the ridge is the 
Suffolk Scarp with a toe elevation of about 20 ft. 
The surface east of the Suffolk Scarp is the Pamlico 
Surface which slopes gently eastward from 
elevation of about 20 ft on the west to sea level on 
the east. The area between Lake Phelps, Pungo 
Lake, and Alligator Lake (or New Lake) is a 
plateau-like surface with elevations mainly from 
15 to 20 ft. The elevation of mean water level in 
these lakes is about 10 ft. Just to the east of this 
plateau-like surface, the elevation drops fairly 
rapidly from 15 to 5 ft in a distance of about 5 
miles. East of longitude 76° 15' (just west of N.C. 
Highway 94) the elevations are mainly less than 5 
ft. 

The main fairly flat Pamlico Surface has been 
dissected by streams that flow towards the margins 
of the peninsula into Albemarle Sound, Pamlico 
River Estuary, and Alligator River Estuary. 

Many miles of canals and ditches have been cut 
through the peat swamps. These canals and ditches 
lower the water table in the immediate vicinity, but 
the effect dies out rapidly because of the low 
hydraulic conductivity of the peat. 

Plate 2 is a map that shows the location and 
thickness of the fuel grade peat. The patterns of 
distribution are different in the western and 



eastern parts, the change occurring approximately 
along the 76° 15' longitude line just west of N.C. 
Highway 94 or approximately along the 5 ft contour 
line. The 76° 15' longitude line will be used 
arbitrarily to separate the deposits into a Western 
Area and an Eastern Area. In the Western Area 
peat is found mainly at elevations of 10 to 20 ft in 
broad shallow basins with few buried narrow 
stream channels. In the Eastern Area peat is found 
mainly at elevations of less than 5 ft. Although 
there are broad shallow peat-filled basins, the 
Eastern Area has numerous narrow, peat-filled 
channels. 

Moisture - For 4227 samples with less than 25 
percent ash from 923 sites, the moisture content 
ranged up to 95 percent with the peats from the 
Western Area having a mean of 81 percent and 
those from the Eastern Area having a mean of 88 
percent (Table 8). The differences in moisture 
between the two areas are probably related to 
differences in elevation and in degree of 
decomposition. As most of the samples were 
collected during the summer months when 
maximum evapotranspiration causes a loss of 
moisture near the surface and a lowering of the 
water table, there is more room for lowering the 
water table in the Western Area with elevations of 
10 to 20 ft than in the Eastern Area with elevations 
of less than 5 ft. Cohen (1979) found the peats of 
the Eastern Area to be somewhat less decomposed 
(more fibrous) than peats of the Western Area; and 
since fibrous peat has a greater waterholding 
capacity than less fibrous peats, the Eastern peats 
have a higher moisture content. 

The moisture content in general increases with 
depth. In the Western Area the moisture content 
increases from an average of 75 percent in the top 
foot to about 85 percent at depths greater than 5 ft. 
In the Eastern Area the moisture content increases 
from an average of about 86 percent in the top foot 
to about 91 percent at depths below 5 ft. The 
differences between Western and Eastern Areas 
would not have been as great if the samples had 
been collected in the winter months rather than the 
summer months. 

Ash - For 4227 samples with less than 25 
percent ash, the mean ash content is 8 percent. For 
the Western Area, the mean is 6 percent; and for 
the Eastern Area, the mean is 10 percent. The 
higher ash content of the Eastern Area is caused 
primarily by samples collected near Alligator 
River, where flood and storm waters have carried 



15 



TABLE 8. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) AND HEATING VALUE OF 
ALBEMARLE-PAMLICO PEATS (134 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT 
ASH) (SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSIS) 





Western Area 






Eastern Area 






Low 


Median 


High 


Low 


Median 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


8,100 


10,300 


11,100 


7,600 


9,500 


10,500 


H 2 


51 


86 


91 


33 


89 


94 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 














Volatiles 


50 


61 


67 


50 


61 ' 


65 


Fixed Carbon 


26 


35 


39 


24 


33 


42 


Ash 2 


1 


3 


22 


2 


5 


24 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 














C 


49 


61 


64 


46 


57 


62 


II 


4.0 


5.1 


6.0 


4.1 


5.1 


5.9 





22 


30 


32 


25 


30 


35 


N 


1.0 


1.2 


2.0 


1.0 


1.6 


2.1 


S 


0.1 


0.2 


0.6 


0.2 


0.4 


2.9 


Ash 2 


1 


3 


22 


2 


5 


24 



Western Area-85 samples; Eastern Area-49 samples. 

1 Moisture- free basis 

2Western Area: for 1667 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content 
ranged from 1 1 to 94 percent with a mean of 81 percent; and the ash content ranged 
from to 25 percent with a mean of 6 percent. Eastern Area: for 2560 samples with 
less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged from 4 1 to 95 percent with a 
mean of 88 percent; and the ash content ranged from to 25 percent with a mean of 10 
percent. 



inorganic sediments into the peat swamps. Away 
from the Alligator River complex and away from the 
margins and bases of the peat bodies, ash contents 
of 2 to 5 percent are common. 

Heating Value and Composition - Table 8 
summarizes the heating value and proximate and 
ultimate analysis of 85 samples from the Eastern 
Area and 49 samples from the Eastern Area. 
Western Area peats are very similar to the average 
North Carolina peat (Table 2), but Eastern Area 
peats have higher than average nitrogen and sulfur 
and lower than average fixed carbon, carbon, and 
heating value. The highest sulfur contents are 
found at the base of the deep channel-fill peats in 
the Eastern Area. Apparently these channels have 
been invaded by marine or brackish water during 
their development with the sulfur coming from the 
sulfate radicals present in marine waters. The low 
fixed carbon, carbon, and heating values of the 
Eastern Area peats probably reflect the low degree 
of decomposition and perhaps the botanical 
composition. 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Plate 2 shows 
the location, size, and variations in thickness of 
the peat deposits of the Albermarle-Pamlico 
peninsula. The calculation of peat resources has 



been divided into two parts: (1) the Western Area, 
where the peat is found mainly at elevations of 10 
to 20 ft, and (2) the Eastern Area, where the peat is 
found mainly at elevations of less than 5 ft (Table 
9). The combined deposits occupy an area of 

TABLE 9. PEAT RESOURCES IN ALBEMARLE-PAMLICO 
PENINSULA 



Thickness 


Area 


Weight 


ft 


IQr acres 


10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 


A. Western Area 






>0 


12 


124 


>2 


99 


116 


>4 


67 


91 


>6 


2X 


44 


>8 


5 


8 


>10 


1 


2 


B. Eastern Area 






>0 


241 


54 


>2 


176 


141 


>4 


108 


104 


>6 


62 


66 


>x 


27 


31 


>10 


10 


12 


C. TOTAL 






>0 


373 


278 


>2 


274 


258 


>4 


175 


196 


>6 


w 


110 


>8 


M 


40 


>10 


10 


14 



16 




EAST BLUFF 



Figure 9. Isopach maps of Gull Rock peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Middleton and New Holland quadrangles. 



373,000 acres (582 sq mi) and contain 278 million 
tons of moisture-free peat. Of this total, about 
175,000 acres has peat greater than 4 ft thick with 
196 million tons. About 65 percent of the peatland 
areas and about 55 percent of the peat resources 
are in the low-lying Eastern Area. 

GULL ROCK 

Location - The Gull Rock peat deposits are in 
Hyde County south of Lake Mattamuskeet and are on 
the Middleton and New Holland U.S. Geological 
Survey 7 1/2 minute orthophotographic and 
topographic quadrangle maps (Figs. 1 and 9). The 
base maps for this and subsequent isopach maps 
are North Carolina Department of Transportation 
county highway maps. Reference is given to USGS 
orthophotographic quadrangle maps. 



Topography and Drainage - Surface elevations 
on the peat range from 2 to 6 ft. Natural drainage 
is mainly radial (southwest, south, and east) 
toward Pamlico Sound. Drainage northward into 
Lake Mattamuskeet is blocked by a low ridge along 
the southern boundary of the lake. Several canals 
connect the peat swamps with Pamlico Sound. 

Moisture - The moisture content averaged about 
80 percent increasing from an average of about 77 
percent in the top foot to about 85 percent at 
depths of 4 to 5 ft (Table 10). 

Ash - The ash content averages about 7 
percent. Away from the margins and bottoms of the 
deposits, ash contents of 3 to 6 percent are common 
(Table 10). 



17 



TABLE 10. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF GULL ROCK PEATS 
(4 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL SAMPLES) 





Low 


Mean 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


10,400 


10,600 


11,000 


H 2 2 


80 


82 


83 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








Volaliles 


60 


62 


63 


Fixed Carbon 


33 


34 


35 


Ash 2 


3 


4 


6 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


61 


63 


64 


II 


4.5 


5.0* 


5.2 


o 


26 


27 


28 


N 


0.6 


0.8 


1.0 


S 


0.2 


0.3 


0.4 


Ash 2 


3 


4 


6 



'Moisture-free basis 

2 For 68 samples with ash less than 25 percent from 22 sites, the moisture 

ranged from 67 to 89 percent with a mean of 80 percent, and the ash content 

ranged from 2 to 25 percent with a mean of 7 percent. 



Washington-Beaufort county line (Figs. 1 and 10). 
The deposit is located on the Hoke (or Pinetown NE) 
orthophotographic and topographic quadrangle 
maps. 

Topography and Drainage - The peat lies in an 1 

elongate depression that trends SSW - NNE at 

elevations of 30 to 40 ft. The Suffolk sand ridge 

with elevation of 40 to 45 ft is to the east and! 
i 

another sand ridge with elevations of 40 to 60 ft is 
to the west. Natural drainage is controlled by the 
sand ridges on the east and on the west, but a small 
creek that flows from the northeast end of the 
deposit cuts through the Suffolk sand ridge and 
flows east into a canal at the foot of the Suffolk 
Scarp. At the southern end of the deposit, drainage 
is into Pungo Creek, which flows southeast intoi 
Pungo River. 

Moisture - The moisture content averaged 81 
percent increasing from an average of 74 percent in 
the top foot to 87 percent at depths greater than 5 
ft (Table 12). 



TABLE 12. 



Heating Value and Composition - Compared to 
the average North Carolina peat (Table 2), Gull Rock 
peats have somewhat higher values for volatiles, 
carbon, and heating values and somewhat lower 
values for nitrogen (Table 10). 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Peat is found in 
two separate areas (Fig. 9). Maximum thickness in 
the western area is 5 ft and in the eastern area is 3 
ft. The combined areas cover 8,000 acres with 4.6 
million tons of moisture-free peat (Table 11). The 
deposits greater than 4 ft thick occupy an area of 
1,260 acres with 1.6 million tons of peat. 

TABLE 11. PEAT RESOURCES IN GULL ROCK AREA 

Thickness Area Weight 

ft 10 acres 10 tons (moisture fire«) 



.(1 


8.04 


4.64 


>2 


3.99 


3.62 


>4 


1.26 


1.58 


.(, 









SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF VAN SWAMP PEAT 
(11 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Mean 



High 



BTU/LB 1 


8,300 


10,100 


10,900 


h 2 o 2 


56 


81 


88 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








Volatiles 


4S 


<>2 


66 


Fixed Carbon 


29 


32 


34 


Ash 2 


2 


6 


19 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


50 


58 


61 


11 


3.3 


4.7 


5.4 


C) 


26 


30 


33 


N 


1.2 


1.4 


1.6 


S 


0.2 


02 


0.5 


Ash 2 


2 


6 


19 



Moisture-free basis. 
2 For 188 samples from 38 sites with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture 
content ranged from 59 to 93 percent with a mean of 81 percent; and 
the ash content ranged from 1 to 25 percent with a mean of 7 percent. 



VAN SWAMP 

Location - The Van Swamp peat deposit is 10 to 
17 miles south of Plymouth and is bisected by the 



Ash - The ash content averages about 7 
percent. Away from the margin and bottom of the 
deposit, ash contents of 2 to 5 percent are common 
(Table 12). 



18 



Figure 10. Isopach map of Van Swamp peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Hoke quadrangle. 



Heating Value and Composition - Van Swamp 
peats are similar to the average North Carolina 
peats (Table 2) except that volatiles and oxygen are 
somewhat high and fixed carbon is somewhat low 
(Table 12). 

Peat. Deposits and Resources - This elongate 
peat deposit covers an area of 6,000 acres and 
contains 5.8 million tons of moisture-free peat. 
Peat greater than 4 ft thick underlies 2,600 acres 
with 3.8 million tons of peat (Table 13). 



TABLE 13. PEAT RESOURCES IN VAN SWAMP 



Thickness 


Area 


Weight 


ft 


10 acres 


10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 


>() 


6.61 


5.82 


>2 


4.45 


5.26 


>4 


2.62 


3.83 


>6 ' 


0.96 


1.67 


>S 


0.33 


0.66 


>10 


0.02 


0.04 



19 



BAY CITY-GUM SWAMP 

Location - Between Aurora and Bayboro and 
along the Beaufort-Pamlico county line is a swampy 
area known as the Bay City Pocosin in the western 
part and Gum Swamp in the eastern Part (Figs. 1 
and 11). Three separate peat deposits are found in 
this swampy complex on the Reelsboro, Bayboro, 
and South Creek orthophotographic and topographic 
quadrangle maps. 

Topography and Drainage - Between the 
western and central deposits and along N.C. 
Highway 306 is the north-south trending Suffolk 
sand ridge with elevations of 40 to 50 ft. The 
western peat deposit has surface elevations of 35 to 
40 ft. The central deposit is at the base of the 
Suffolk Scarp and has elevations of 15 to 20 ft. The 
eastern deposit has elevations of 5 to 10 ft. 

Drainage from the western deposit is mainly to 
the west (SW, W, NW) away from the Suffolk sand 
ridge into Pamlico River and Neuse River. Drainage 
from the central and eastern areas is mainly to the 
east away from the Suffolk sand ridge into Pamlico 
Sound. 

Moisture - The moisture content of the western 
deposit averaged about 85 percent with the 
moisture content being fairly uniform from top to 
bottom (Table 14). The moisture content of the 
central and eastern deposits averaged 80 percent 
with the average moisture increasing from 74 
percent in the top foot to about 85 percent at 
depths below 4 ft. 

Ash - The ash content of fuel-grade peat in the 
western area averages 6 percent with the average of 
the central and eastern areas being somewhat 
higher at 10 percent (Table 14). In the western 
area ash contents of 2 to 5 percent are common. 

Heating Value and Composition - Compared to 
the average North Carolina peat (Table 2) Bay City - 
Gum Swamp peats have a higher than average 
nitrogen content and lower than average values of 
fixed carbon, carbon, and heating value. 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Peat is found in 
three separate areas (Fig. 11). The combined areas 
of 12,000 acres contain 5.9 million tons of 
moisture-free peat (Table 15). Of this total, peat 
greater than 4 ft thick covers 1,100 acres with 1.1 
million tons of peat. The greatest concentration of 
peat greater than 4 ft thick is found in the western 
deposit (700 acres with 0.8 million tons of peat). 



TABLE 14. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) AND 
HEATING VALUES OF BAY CITY POCOSIN-GUM SWAMP 
PEATS (6 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 





Low 


Mean 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


8,400 


9,200 


9,600 


HaO 2 


76 


84 


92 


PROXIMATE ANALAYSIS 1 


1 






Volatiles 


48 


58 


65 


Fixed Carbon 


26 


32 


37 


Ash 2 


6 


10 


18 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


50 


54 


57 


H 


4.2 


4.8 


5.0 


O 


25 


29 


32 


N 


1.2 


1.6 


2.1 


S 


0.2 


0.3 


0.4 


Ash 2 


6 


10 


18 



Moisture-free basis. 

"For 62 samples with less than 25 percent ash from 19 sites in the western area, 
the average moisture content was 85 percent and the average ash content 
was 6 percent. For 57 samples from 18 sites in the central and eastern 
areas, the average moisture content was 80 percent and the average ash 
content was 10 percent. 



TABLE 15. PEAT RESOURCES IN BAY CITY POCOSIN- 


GUM SWAMP 






Thickness 


Areas 


Weight 


ft 


10 acres 


10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 


A. Western Deposit 






>0 


5.86 


2.91 


>2 


3.23 


2.36 


>4 


0.68 


0.75 


>6 


0.09 


0.13 


B. Central Deposit 






>0 


5.05 


2.26 


>2 


226 


1.59 


>4 


0.06 


0.06 


C. Eastern Deposit 






>0 


1.38 


0.70 


>2 


0.63 


0.52 


>4 


0.32 


0.31 


>6 


0.02 


0.02 


D. TOTAL 






>0 


12.29 


5.87 


>2 


6.12 


4.47 


>4 


1.06 


1.12 


>6 


0.11 


0.14 



20 




21 



LIGHT GROUND POCOSIN 

Location - The Light Ground Pocosin peat 
deposit is located in south central Pamlico County, 
13 miles east of New Bern. The towns of Alliance, 
Bayboro, and Stonewall are just north of the 
deposit. The entire deposit is on the Arapahoe 7 
1/2 minute U.S. Geological Survey 
orthophotographic and topographic maps (Figs. 1 
and 12). 

Topography and Drainage - Just west of the 
peat deposit along the approximately position of 
N.C. Highway 306 is the north-south trending 
Arapahoe (or Suffolk) sand ridge (Daniels, Gamble, 
Wheeler, and Holyhey, 1977) with elevations of 40 
to 50 ft. The eastern front of the sand ridge is the 
Suffolk Scarp with a toe elevation of about 20 ft. 
East of the Suffolk Scarp the Pamlico surface slopes 
gently eastward to an elevation of 15 ft east of the 
peat. The surface of the peat, however, rises as a 
broad dome above the Pamlico surface attaining 
elevations of over 20 ft. This area is a true pocosin 
(Indian word for "swamp-on-a-hill"). 

Before the digging of ditches and canals, the 



drainage of the peatlands was very poor. No 
natural streams penetrate the peat. Before man, 
water undoubtedly flowed down the Suffolk Scarp 
into peatland and was slowly distributed by 
overland and nearsurface lateral flow into minor 
creeks to the north, east, and south. At present 
drainage is improved by the approximately 35 
miles of canals and ditches that dissect the area. 

Moisture - The moisture content averaged about 
79 percent increasing from an average of 74 
percent in the top foot to 85 to 90 percent at depths 
greater than 5 ft (Table 16). Moisture contents 
were highly variable in the top 4 ft, the active zone 
through which the water table moves up and down. 

Ash - For 335 samples of fuel-grade peat, the 
ash content averages 7 percent. Within the main 
body of the peat and away from the margins and! 
bottom of the peat, the ash content is usually below 
5 percent. Ash contents of 1 to 3 percent are ; 
common (Table 16). 

Heating Value and Composition - The average 
Light Ground Pocosin peat has heating value and 




Figure 12. Isopach map of Light Ground Pocosin peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Arapahoe quadrangle. 



22 



composition almost identical to the average North 
Carolina peat (Tables 2 and 16). 



TABLE 16. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) AND 
HEATING VALUES OF LIGHT GROUND POCOSIN PEATS 
(30 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 





Low 


Median 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


8,700 


10,300 


11,000 


H 2 o2 


71 


80 


91 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








Volatiles 


47 


58 


66 


Fixed Carbon 


28 


35 


43 


Ash 2 


2 


5 


17 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


52 


61 


66 


H 


4.0 


5.0 


5.9 


O 


22 


26 


30 


N 


0.9 


1.4 


2.0 


S 


0.2 


0.2 


0.3 


Ash 2 


2 


5 


17 



Moisture-free basis. 

2 
For 335 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged 

from 61 to 92 percent with a mean of 79 percent; and the ash content 

ranged from 1 to 25 percent with a mean of 7 percent. 



Peat Deposits and Resources - Except for a 
narrow peat -filled channel 8 to 12 ft deep and two 
small thin areas over highs in the sub-peat surface, 
the peat lies in a broad shallow depression and 
increases in thickness from ft at the margin to 
about 7 ft at the center. 

The deposit occupies an area of 5,900 acres 
with 5.2 million tons of moisture-free peat (Table 
17). The peat greater than 4 ft thick occupies an 
area of 2,800 acres with 3.5 million tons of peat. 



TABLE 17. 


PEAT RESOURCES IN LIGHT GROUND 




POCOSIN 




Thickness 


Area 


Weight 


ft 


10 acres 


10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 


>0 


5.93 


5.17 


>2 


4.81 


4.93 


>4 


2.79 


3.48 


>6 


0.88 


1.33 


>8 


0.11 


0.19 


> 10 


0.01 


0.01 



OPEN GROUNDS POCOSIN 

Since sampling was done in this area, 
agricultural activities have taken place which 
probably have decreased the amount of fuel-grade 
peat. 

Location - In Carteret County and 10 to 20 
miles northeast of Beaufort is the shallow Open 
Grounds Pocosin peat deposit (Figs. 1 and 13). The 
peat is located on parts of four U.S. Geological 
Survey orthophotographic or topographic maps: 
Davis, Long Bay, South River, and Williston. 

Topography and Drainage - The surface 
elevation is about 10 ft in the central part and 
drops off to about 5 ft along the margins. Natural 
surface drainage is poor and is somewhat radial 
into Core Sound, Pamlico sound, and Neuse River 
estuary. Drainage canals and ditches are very 
common, especially in the southern part. 

Moisture - The moisture content generally 
ranges from 70 to 80 percent with an average of 
about 75 percent (Table 18). The lower- 
than-average moisture content reflects the relative 
thinness of the peat, the grass and crop cover, and 
the artificial drainage of the area. 



TABLE 18. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF OPEN GROUNDS PEAT 
(2 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Mean 



High 



BTU/LB 1 


9,700 


H 2 2 


69 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatiles 


56 


Fixed Carbon 


38 


Ash 2 


2 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


61 


II 


5.0 


O 


27 


N 


1.2 


S 


0.2 


Ash 2 


2 


Moisture-free basis 





,000 


10,300 


73 


77 


58 


(.0 


39 


3<J 


4 


5 


61 


61 


5.0 


5.1 


28 


30 


1.3 


1.4 


0.2 


0.3 


4 


5 



For 45 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged 
from 49 to 89 percent with a mean of 75 percent; and the ash content 
ranged from 1 to 25 percent with a mean of 9 percent. 



23 




Figure 13. Isopach map of Open Grounds Pocosin peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Davis, Long Bay, South River, and 
Williston quadrangles. 



Ash - For the entire deposit, the ash content is 
relatively high, averaging about 9 percent (Table 
18). In the thicker peats (3 to 5 ft), ash contents of 
2 to 6 percent are common. 

Heating Value and Composition - Except for the 
relatively high fixed carbon, Open Grounds Pocosin 
peats (Table 18) are similar to the average North 
Carolina peat (Table 2). 



24 



Peat Deposits and Resources - The deposit 
apparently is an infilling of a blocked channel that 
at one time emptied into Long Bay (Fig. 13). In the 
total deposit, there were about 11,000 acres 
containing about 6.3 million tons of moisture-free 
peat. Of this total only about 460 acres with 0.6 
million tons had peat greater than 4 ft thick (Table 
19). Since this survey was made, agricultural 
activities may have destroyed some of the peat. 



TABLE 19. PEAT RESOURCES IN OPEN GROUNDS 
POCOSIN 

Thickness Area Weight 

ft 10 acres 10 tons (moisture-free) 



>0 


10.98 


6.33 


>2 


6.12 


4.97 


>4 


0.46 


0.55 


>6 









CROATAN FOREST 

Location - Most of the Croatan Forest peat is 
located in southwestern Craven County, but some 
peat is found in the adjoining parts of Jones and 
Carteret counties (Fig. 1 and PI. 3). The deposits 
are located on four 7 1/2 minute U.S. Geological 
Survey orthophotographic quadrangle maps: 
Maysville NW, Maysville NE, Maysville SE, and 
Masontown. New Bern is about 15 miles to the 
north of the center of the deposit; and Havelock, 
about 8 miles to the east. The main access to the 
deposit is by Catfish Road (SSR 1100 and 1105) and 
the numerous Forest Service roads that connect 
with Catfish Road. 

Topography and Drainage - The Croatan Forest 
peat deposits are on the Talbot Terrace, a nearly 
flat surface that slopes gently downward toward the 
southeast. Surface elevations of the peat range from 
about 40 ft in the northwest to about 30 ft in the 
southeast, but the surface of the major peat deposit 
rises as a broad dome attaining an elevation of 
slightly above 40 ft over the thickest part of the 
deposit just northwest of Great Lake. This major 
deposit is a true "pocosin" (Indian word for 
"swamp-on-a-hill"). 

In several places sand ridges rise above the 
surface of the peat and become boundaries for the 
deposits. 

Five large lakes (Catfish, Great, Long, Ellis, 
and Little Lakes) are found in the area but all are 
along the margins of the peat deposits. The origins 
of the depressions in which these lakes are found 
are not known. Ellis Lake has an elliptical shape 
similar to that of the Carolina bays. The lake 
depressions could have developed by major peat 
burns over thicker and marginal parts of the peat. 

Drainage of the area is sluggish and poorly 
developed. Many small creeks have their 

headwaters in the edges of the peat swamps and 
flow radially away from them, westward into White 
Oak River, northward into Trent River, eastward 



into Ncuse River estuary, and southward into Bogue 
Sound. A poorly-developed drainage system 
functions in the pcatlands. Small creeks flow south 
and southeast into Catfish Lake. A small creek 
flows south out of Catfish Lake into a creek that 
flows eastward into Great Lake. A creek flows 
south out of Great Lake into Hunters Creek which 
flows west into White Oak River. A small creek 
flows southeast into Long Lake but there is no 
obvious drainage flowing out of Long Lake. There is 
probably some subsurface drainage through the 
sediments that underlie the peat. Surface 

sheet-wash was observed in the swamps during 
times of heavy rainfall. 

Moisture - The moisture content averaged 82 
percent increasing from an average of 80 percent in 
the top 4 ft to about 88 percent at depths of 8 ft 
(Table 20). 

The lower and more variable moisture content 
in the top 4 ft is probably related to fluctuation in 
the position of the water table. The change in 
average moisture content at about 4 ft probably 
represents the lowest position of the fluctuating 
water table. 

Ash - The average ash content of all the 
samples analyzed was 5 percent (Table 20). Away 
from the margins and bases of the peat deposits, 
ash contents of 1 to 3 percent are very common. 



TABLE 20. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 

AND HEATING VALUES OF CROATAN FOREST PEATS 
(41 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 





Low 


Median 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


7,600 


10,100 


11,600 


H 2 o2 


74 


84 


91 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








Volatiles 


48 


57 


62 


Fixed Carbon 


34 


39 


45 


Ash 2 


2 


3 


14 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


54 


61 


65 


11 


4.1 


5.1 


5.9 


o 


24 


28 


31 


N 


0.7 


1.1 


1.6 


S 


0.1 


02 


0.3 


Ash 2 


2 


3 


14 



Moisture-free basis 
9 
For 857 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged 

from 64 to 95 percent with an average of 82 percent; and the ash content 

ranged from 1 to 25 percent with an average of 5 percent. 



25 



Heating Value and Composition - Croatan 
Forest peats are similar to the average North 
Carolina peat (Table 2) except that the fixed carbon 
is somewhat higher and the volatile matter and 
nitrogen content are somewhat lower (Table 20). 

Peat Deposits and Resources - In the Croatan 
Forest region, peat is found in five areas that are 
physically separated: A-the Northwest Catfish 
Lake deposit, B-the Northwest Great-Long Lake 
deposit, C-the South Great Lake deposit, D-the 
South Ellis Lake deposit, and E-the Millis Road 
deposit (PI. 3). Except for a few blocked and 
peat-filled old stream channels, the peat lies in 
broad shallow depressions on the pre-peat surface. 

Most of the top 4 to 5 ft of peat is a black, 
fine-grained sapric peat that apparently 
accumulated under swamp forest conditions. 
Beneath this in the thicker sections of peat is 
usually a brown more fibrous peat that apparently 
accumulated in open shallow lakes and marshes. 
The Croatan Forest peats have less wood than most 
of the other pocosin deposits. 

The combined deposits occupy an area of 
35,300 acres (55 sq mi) and contain 27 million 
tons of moisture-free peat (Table 21). The peat 
greater than 4 ft thick occupies an area of 11,600 
acres with 14 million tons of peat. The largest 
deposit lies northwest of Great and Long Lakes and 
covers 17,500 acres with 16.5 million tons of peat. 

HOFMANN FOREST 

Location - The Hofmann Forest peat deposits 
are located north and south of the Jones - Onslow 
county line on the Kellum, Jacksonville NE, and 
Jacksonville NW U.S. Geological Survey 
orthophotographic quadrangle maps (Figs. 1 and 
14). Jacksonville is 8 to 18 mi south of the 
deposits. 



TABLE 21. PEAT RESOURCES IN CROATAN FOREST 



Thickness 


Area 


Weight 


ft 


10^ acres 


10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 


A. Northwest Catfish Lake 






>0 


12.45 


7.36 


>2 


5.46 


5.26 


>4 


2.14 


2.52 


>6 


i 0.06 


0.08 


>8 








B. Northwest Great-Long 


Lake 




>0 


17.49 


16.50 


>2 


13.70 


15.37 


>4 


9.16 


11.62 


>6 


422 


5.82 


>8 


0.70 


1.13 


> 10 








C. South Great Lake 






>0 


0.47 


0.40 


>2 


0.35 


0.36 


>4 


0.20 


0.24 


>6 








D. South Ellis Lake 






>0 


3.46 


1.97 


>2 


1.78 


1.47 


>4 








E. Millis Road 






>0 


1.42 


0.62 


>2 


0.34 


0.30 


>4 


0.05 


0.06 


>6 








F. TOTAL 






>0 


35.29 


26.85 


>2 


21.63 


22.75 


>4 


11.55 


14.44 


>6 


428 


5.90 


>8 


0.70 


1.13 


> 10 









the ash content is usually less than 5 percent 
(Table 22). 



Topography and Drainage - The surface 
elevation of these deposits ranges from 45 to 60 ft. 
Primary drainage is into the White Oak River, 
although some drainage is to the south into New 
River. 

Moisture - The moisture content averaged 74 
percent increasing from 70 percent in the top 2 ft 
to 85 percent at depths of 5 to 6 ft (Table 22). 

Ash - The average ash content is 12 percent, 
but most of the high-ash samples is from peat less 
than 4 ft thick. For peat greater than 5 ft thick, 



Heating Value and Composition - Hofmann 
Forest peats (Table 22) are similar to the average 
North Carolina peat (Table 2) except that the fixed 
carbon is somewhat higher and the volatile matter 
is somewhat lower. 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Peat is found in 
three separate areas, one southern deposit in 
Onslow County and two northern deposits in Jones 
County (Fig. 14). Total resources are 4.2 million 
tons of moisture-free peat on 5,200 acres (Table 
23). Of this total, about 1,000 acres is underlain 
by peat greater than 4 ft thick with resources of 
1.6 million tons of peat. 



26 






ft 



v^ 




)® 



O F M 






i 



® 



Creek ^ 



N 



N 




ft 



^ 



v< >-7 



V.t-^ 



N 



V 



^ 



i, > 



2 3 miles 
J I 



SCALE 



Figure 14. Isopach map of Hofmann Forest peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Jacksonville NE,' Jacksonville NW, and Kellum 
quadrangles. 



27 



TABLE 22. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF HOFMANN FOREST PEATS 
(6 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Mean 



High 



BTU/LB ' 


9,500 


H 2 2 


73 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatiles 


56 


Fixed Carbon 


34 


Ash 2 


3 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


58 


H 


3.9 


O 


27 


N 


1.1 


S 


0.2 


Ash 2 


3 


Moisture-free basis. 





'00 


10,700 


81 


85 


58 


59 


38 


41 


5 


X 


61 


63 


4.8 


5 


28 


29 


1.2 


1 


0.2 





5 


8 



For 62 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged 
from 49 to 89 percent with an average of 74 percent; and the ash content 
ranged from 3 to 25 percent with an average of 12 percent. 



TABLE 23. PEAT RESOURCES IN HOFMANN FOREST 



Thickness 
ft 



Area 
10 acres 



Weight 
10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 



A. South Deposit 


>0 


>2 


>4 


>6 


>8 


B. North Deposits 


>0 


>2 


>4 


>6 


>8 


C. TOTAL 


>0 


>2 


>4 


>6 


>8 



2.17 
1.20 
0.65 
0.10 





3.00 
1.70 
0.39 
0.03 




5.17 
2.90 
1.04 
0.13 




1.87 
1.53 
0.99 
0.16 




2.34 
1.88 
0.59 
0.05 




4.21 
3.42 
1.57 
0.21 




Topography and Drainage - Surface elevations 
on the peat range from 30 to 40 ft. Surface 
drainage is radially away from the peat in all 
directions. The Northeast Cape Fear River is about 
one mile from the western border of the peat 
deposit. 

Moisture - The moisture content ranged from 
78 to 91 percent with an average of 85 percent. 
Although there was more variation in the upper 4 
to 5 ft (the acrotelm or active zone), the average 
moisture content was a fairly constant 85 percent 
at all depths (Table 24). 



TABLE 24. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF ANGOLA SWAMP PEAT 
(8 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Mean 



High 



BTU/LB 1 


9,800 


H 2 2 


78 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatiles 


54 


Fixed Carbon 


29 


Ash 2 


3 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


56 


II 


4.1 


o 


19 


N 


0.7 


S 


0.1 


Ash 2 


3 


Moisture-free basis. 





,400 


11,000 


82 


85 


57 


60 


34 


40 


9 


15 


61 


64 


4.6 


5.8 


24 


27 


1.0 


1.5 


0.2 


0.2 


9 


15 



ANGOLA SWAMP 



For 124 samples, the moisture content ranged from 78 to 91 percent with an 
average of 85 percent; and the ash content ranged from 1 to 25 percent 
with an average of 7 percent. 



Ash - The ash content averages 7 percent; but 
in the thicker peats, ash contents of 2 to 5 percent 
are common (Table 24). 

Heating Value and Composition - Angola Swamp 
peats are similar to the average North Carolina peat 
(Table 2) except that the heating values are 
somewhat higher than average and volatiles, 
oxygen, and nitrogen are somewhat lower than 
average (Table 24). 



Location - The Angola Swamp peat deposit 
straddles the Duplin-Pender county line east of 
Wallace and is on the Wallace East and Pin Hook 
U.S. Geological Survey orthophotographic and 
topographic quadrangle maps (Figs. 1 and 15). 



Peat Deposits and Resources - The deposit 
covers an area of about 22,000 acres with about 15 
million tons of moisture - free peat. The peat 
greater than 4 ft thick covers an area of 8,800 acres 
with about 10 million tons of peat (Table 25). 



28 



TABLE 25. PEAT RESOURCES EM ANGOLA SWAMP 



Thickness 


Area 


ft 


ICr acres 


>0 


21.86 


>2 


15.48 


>4 


8.77 


>6 


1.32 


>8 


0.07 


> 10 






Weight 

10 tons (moisture-free) 



15.22 
13.82 
9.60 
1.78 
0.11 




TOLLY SHELTER SWAMP 

Location - The Holly Shelter Swamp peat 
leposit is located in Pender County 6 to 8 miles 
vest of Holly Ridge and is on the U.S. Geological 
Jurvey 7 1/2 minute Maple Hill SW and Topsail 



orthophotographic and topographic quadrangle 
maps (Fig 1 and 16). 

Topography and Drainage - Surface elevations 
on the peat range from 35 to 45 ft. Southeast of the 
peat deposit is a coast-parallel sand ridge with 
elevations of 60 to 70 ft that blocks drainage 
towards the coast. Surface drainage is to the north, 
west, and south into small creeks that eventually 
flow into the Northeast Cape Fear River. 

Moisture - The moisture content ranged from 
55 to 91 percent with an average of 81 percent. The 
moisture content is highly variable in the upper 4 
to 5 ft (the active zone or acrotelm). Below 4 to 5 ft 
in the catotelm, moisture contents are higher, less 
variable, and average 86 percent (Table 26). 




Figure 15. Isopach map of Angola Swamp peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Maple Hill, Pin Hook, and Wallace East 
quadrangles. 



29 




Figure 16. Isopach map of Holly Shelter Swamp peat. Thickness in feet. USGS Maple Hill SW, and Topsail quadrangles. 



TABLE 26. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATPNG VALUES OF HOLLY SHELTER PEAT 
(4 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 





Low 


Mean 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


8,400 


9,400 


9,900 


HjO 2 


81 


82 


88 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








Volaliles 


48 


52 


56 


Fixed Carbon 


29 


35 


37 


Ash 2 


7 


13 


23 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


52 


57 


60 


II 


3.8 


3.9 


4.0 





20 


25 


29 


N 


0.9 


1.1 


1.4 


S 


0.2 


0.2 


0.2 


Ash 2 


7 


13 


23 



Moisture-free basis. 
9 
For 171 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content 

ranged from 55 to 91 percent with an average of 81 percent; and content 

the ash ranged from 2 to 25 percent with an average of 10 percent. 



Ash - The average ash content of 10 percent is: 
higher than in the average North Carolina peat. 
Ash contents of less than 5 percent are common 
only in peat greater than 5 ft thick (Tables 2 and 
26). 

Heating Value and Composition - Compared to: 
the average North Carolina peat (Table 2), Holly 
Shelter Swamp peats are lower than average in 
volatiles, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and 
heating value (Table 26). 

Peat Deposits and Resources - The peat deposit 
covers an area of 9,200 acres and contains 6.1 
million tons of moisture-free peat. Of this tota 
3,100 acres is underlain by peat greater than 4 ft 
thick with 3.8 million tons of peat (Table 27). 

GREEN SWAMP 

Location - The Green Swamp is a large swamp 
complex west of Wilmington and southeast of Lake 
Waccamaw in eastern Columbus and western 



30 



TABLE 27. PEAT RESOURCES IN HOLLY SHELTER 



TABLE 28. 



Thickness 
ft 



Area 
l(r acres 



Weight 

10 tons (moisture-free) 



>0 
>2 
>4 
>6 
>8 
> 10 



923 


6.70 


6.00 


5.89 


3.09 


3.80 


0.81 


1.18 


0.13 


0.22 









Brunswick counties (Figs. 1 and 17). Peat is found 
in only a small part of the total swamp complex. In 
addition to the peat deposits shown on Figure 17, 
there are numerous areas of thin peat, usually less 
than 2 ft thick. In the Green Swamp are 3 main 
deposits: (1) The Exum deposit located on the 
Exum U.S. Geological Survey orthophotographic 
map, (2) the Juniper Creek deposits located on the 
Exum, Supply, Boliva, and Honey Island 
orthophotographic maps, and (3) the Old Dock 
deposit located on the Old Dock map. 

Topography and Drainage - Surface elevations 
range from 50 to 60 ft on the Exum and Juniper 
Creek deposits to about 40 ft on the Old Dock 
deposit. Just southeast of the swamp complex are 
coast-parallel sand ridges that block most of the 
drainage to the coast. Most surface drainage is 
northwesterly into Juniper Creek and other 
tributaries of the Waccamaw River. 

Moisture - The Exum and Juniper Creek 
deposits both had average moisture contents of 
about 86 percent, while the Old Dock deposit had 
an average moisture content of only 76 percent 
(Table 28). This difference is mainly the result of 
the Old Dock deposit being thinner and, therefore, 
lacking the deeper and wetter peats. In all three 
deposits the average moisture content increases 
downward to a depth of 4 to 5 ft, below which the 
moisture was 85 to 90 percent. 

Ash - For samples with less than 25 percent 
ash, the average ash content of the Exum and 
Juniper Creek deposits is 7 to 9 percent (Table 28). 
Where the peat is greater than 4 ft thick, however, 
ash contents are commonly less than 5 percent. 
The average ash content of the Old Dock peat is 
about 12 percent, reflecting the fact that there is 
very little peat greater than 4 ft thick. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF GREEN SWAMP PEATS 
(10 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Mean 



High 



BTU/LB ' 


8,600 


H 2 o2 


75 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatiles 


50 


Fixed Carbon 


31 


Ash 2 


4 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


57 


II 


3.7 


() 


25 


N 


0.4 


S 


0.2 


Ash 2 


4 



9,700 


10,600 


83 


91 


57 


62 


36 


39 


7 


15 


59 


61 


4.4 


5.1 


28 


31 


1.2 


1.7 


0.3 


0.4 


7 


15 



Moisture-free basis. 
2 
Exum deposit: For 53 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture 

content ranged from 72 to 92 percent with an average of 86 percent; 

and the ash content ranged from 3 to 25 percent with an average of 

9 percent. Juniper Creek deposit For 132 samples with less than 

25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged from 58 to 94 percent 

with an average of 86 percent; and the ash content ranged from 2 to 

25 percent with an average of 7 percent. Old Dock deposit: For 33 

samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged 

from 57 to 92 percent with an average of 76 percent; and the ash 

content ranged from 4 to 25 percent with an average of 12 percent. 



Carolina peat (Table 2) except that the volatiles 
and hydrogen content are somewhat lower than 
average (Table 28). 

Peat Deposits and Resources - The three 
deposits shown on Figure 17 contain a total of 10.3 
million tons of moisture-free peat on a total area of 
16,400 acres (Table 29). Of this total, peat greater 
than 4 ft thick covers 3,600 acres with 4.3 million 
tons of peat. The greatest concentration of peat 
greater than 4 ft thick is fOund in the Juniper 
Creek deposit (1,900 acres with 2.3 million tons of 
peat). 

The Green Swamp complex contains many areas 
of organic-rich soils, but with the organic matter 
being less than the required 75 percent to be 
considered full-grade peat. Because of the large 
size of the Green Swamp and the dense vegetation 
covering much of it, there are probably some peat 
deposits that were not discovered by this survey. 

OTHERS 



Heating Value and Composition - The Green 
Swamp peats are similar to the average North 



Undoubtedly there are some areas of peat that 
were missed in this survey. A combination of the 



31 




32 



TABLE 29. PEAT RESOURCES IN GREEN SWAMP 



Thickness 


Area 


Weight 


ft 


lCr acres 


10 6 ton 
(moisture-free) 


A. Exum Deposit 






>0 


4.16 


2.51 


>2 


2.72 


2.20 


>4 


1.21 


1.30 


>6 


0.39 


0.52 


>8 








B. Juniper Creek Deposit 






>0 


9.82 


5.93 


>2 


5.96 


5.08 


>4 


1.86 


2.25 


>6 


1.14 


1.39 


>8 


0.40 


0.51 


> 10 


0.02 


0.03 


> 12 








C. Old Dock Deposit 






>0 


2.44 


1.83 


>2 


1.47 


1.54 


>4 


0.55 


0.74 


>6 








D. TOTAL 






>0 


16.42 


10.27 


>2 


10.15 


8.82 


>4 


3.62 


4.29 


>6 


1.53 


1.91 


>8 


0.40 


0.51 


>10 


0.02 


0.03 


> 12 









large areas to be covered and the almost 
impenetrable vegetation in many areas makes it 
likely that some deposits were missed. For 
example, there are reports of peat in the Great 
Sandy Run Pocosin about 10 mi south-southwest of 
Jacksonville. 



Carolina Bays 

Carolina bays are shallow, elliptical, closed 
depressions in the Atlantic Coastal Plain from 
southern New Jersey to northern Florida. The 
greatest number and best examples are found in 
North and South Carolina. The bays have a general 
northwest-southeast orientation. They range in 
length from a few hundred feet to about 6 miles. 
Prouty (1952) estimates that there are about a half 
million of these bays in the entire Atlantic Coastal 
Plain. Most are low-lying swampy areas and a few 
contain lakes. Ten to twenty different hypotheses 



of origin (falling meteorites, upwelling springs, 
eddy currents, solution, wind-induced 
shape-modification, etc.) have been presented, but 
there is no consensus among those who have worked 
on the problem. 

In North Carolina there are about 2,100 
Carolina bays longer than 800 ft (larger than 10 
acres) scattered over most of the Coastal Plain but 
with a concentration in Bladen and Robeson 
counties (Fig. 18). 

Field Methods - Since the swampy nature of 
most of the Carolina bays is conducive to the 
formation of highly organic soils, most bays are 
potential sites of peat formation. Field 

investigations were limited to the approximately 
500 bays longer than 3,000 ft (larger than 100 
acres). 

Because of the large numbers of bays to be 
investigated and because of the almost 
impenetrable nature of the dense vegetation in 
many of the bays, thorough sampling of all the bays 
was not possible within time and budget 
limitations. As the bays are elliptical, 

bowl-shaped depressions, peat accumulations 
should be lense-shaped and thickest near the 
center. In order to obtain an idea of the total peat 
resources of all the Carolina bays, a single transect 
from the edge to the center was made of each of the 
bays. This often involved time-consuming clearing 
of the lines of transects with machetes. Cores were 
taken at intervals along each transect with 
Macauley peat samplers. For a few of the bays more 
complete areal sampling was done. 

Moisture - The average moisture content of 
1092 samples with less than 25 percent ash was 84 
percent (Table 30). This is almost identical with 
the average moisture content of the coastal swamp 
or pocosin peats. In general, moisture increases 
with depth. 

Ash - The average ash content of samples with 
less than 25 percent ash from the 96 bays with peat 
ranged from 1.4 to 25 percent with a median of 5.5 
percent. Ash contents of less than 5 percent are 
common in the bays with peat greater than 4 ft 
thick. 

Heating Value and Composition - Carolina bay 
peats are similar to the average North Carolina peat 
(Table 2) except that the carbon content is 
somewhat higher and the hydrogen content is 
somewhat lower than average (Table 30). 



33 




Figure 18. Distribution of Carolina bays longer than 800 feet in North Carolina. From Pr out y, 1952. 



Peat Deposits and Resources - Of the 
approximately 500 bays longer than 3,000 ft. 
(larger than 100 acres), 96 contain at least 1 ft of 
peat. Locations of the peat-bearing bays are shown 
on Figures 1, and 19 through 38. The bays with the 
most peat are listed in Table 31. A summary of the 
nature and amount of peat in each of the 
peat-bearing bays is given is Table 32. 

The 96 bays have a total of 35,000 acres of 
peatland and 15 million tons of moisture-free peat. 
Forty three of these bays have peat greater than 4 
ft thick and have a total of 8 million tons of peat on 
8,000 acres. 



River Floodplains 

No systematic survey was made of all the 



floodplain swamps of North Carolina coastal rivers. 
Limited mapping of peat was made only along parts 
of the lower reaches of the Chowan, Roanoke, anc 
Cape Fear Rivers. Very probably peat is to be 
found along the floodplains of most of the coasta 
rivers. 

CHOWAN RIVER 

Location - The Chowan River flows along the 
border between Gates and Hertford counties ir 
northeastern North Carolina (Fig. 1). A strip of the 
Chowan floodplain from U.S. Highway 158-13 neai 
Winton southeast for about 15 miles wa: 
investigated for peat (Fig. 39) (Witner, 1984) 
Undoubtedly more peat exists along the Chowan 
especially to the north of the area mapped. The 
peat deposits mapped are on the Winton NE, Wintoi 



34 



TABLE 30. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF CAROLINA BAY PEATS 
(84 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 





Low 


Median 


High 


BTU/LB 1 


8,900 


10,200 


11,600 


H 2 o2 


72 


83 


94 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








Volatiles 


54 


60 


67 


Fixed Carbon 


28 


36 


43 


Ash 2 


1 


3 


21 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 








C 


52 


62 


66 


H 


3.7 


4.5 


5.7 


O 


22 


29 


33 


N 


0.7 


1.2 


2.3 


S 


0.1 


0.2 


0.3 


Ash 2 


1 


3 


21 



Moisture-free basis. 
2 For 1092 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the average moisture content 
was 84 percent; and the average ash content was 6 percent 



TABLE 31. CAROLINA BAYS WITH THE MOST PEAT THICKER 
THAN 4 FT 



Deposit 


Map 


Max. Thk. 
ft. 


Acres 


Tons of 
Peat 


White Lake SE 1972 


9 


8 


980 


1,109,000 


RoseboroNW4175 


5 


5 


600 


600,000 


ElizabethtownNE2951 


X 


8 


500 


563,000 


RoseboroSW2831 


5 


7 


460 


493,000 


White Lake SW 6165 


9 


8 


470 


491,900 


Roseboro SW 9968 


5 


7 


380 


440,000 


RoseboroSW7411 


5 


6 


390 


424,000 



NW, Winton SE, and Beckford SW U.S. Geological 
Survey orthophotographic quadrangle maps. 

Topography and Drainage - The elevation of 
most of the floodbasin is only slightly above sea 
level. Some linear bar sands in the floodbasins 
rise above the level of the floodplain to elevations 
of 5 to 10 ft. The bordering pre-Holocene surface 
in the area mapped has an elevation of about 40 ft. 
Some small creeks flow from the floodplain into the 
Chowan, but in general the swampy peatlands are 
poorly drained. The water table is very near the 
surface over most of the peat deposits. 

Moisture - The moisture content averaged 91 
percent reflecting the' fact that the peat is 



essentially water-saturated from the surface 
downward. There is little variation with depth as 
in most of the pocosin and Carolina bay peats 
(Table 33). 

Ash - The ash content averages 1 1 percent, 
which is high compared to most pocosin and 
Carolina Bay peats. Flooding of the Chowan River 
and erosion of the adjacent pre-Holocene surface 
has introduced clay, silt, and sand into the 
peat-forming swamps. 

Heating Value and Composition - Chowan River 
peats are similar to the average North Carolina peat 
(Table 2) except that volatile matter, nitrogen, and 
sulfur are somewhat higher than average (Table 
33). 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Chowan River 
floodplain peats are much more variable than 
pocosin and Carolina Bay peats. In most of the 
areas of peat shown on Figure 39, the peat is 
continuous from the surface to the bottom of the 
peat; but in many areas the peat is covered by a 
layer of inorganic sediment; and in many places 
layers of inorganic sediments are interlayered with 
the peat (Witner, 1984). All of this is to be 
expected as the result of flooding of the river. 
There are also large areas of organic-rich 
sediments but with the organic content being less 
than 75 percent (ash greater than 25 percent). In 
many places wood, representing undecomposed 
fallen trees, is common. The fact that the peat 
deposits are elongate and roughly parallel to the 
stream valley implies that the peat accumulated in 
abandoned channels of the Chowan. 

Calculated peat resources in the part of the 
Chowan floodplain that was surveyed are shown in 
Table 34. Total resources are about 3.7 million 
tons under about 8,200 acres, of which about 2.9 
million tons under 4,200 acres are in peat greater 
than 4 ft thick. Probably an equal amount of peat 
is to be found in the unmapped part of the Chowan 
floodplain to the north. 

ROANOKE RIVER 

Location, Topography, and Drainage - The 
Roanoke River enters Albemarle Sound just north of 
Plymouth (Figs. 1 and 40). The river has a wide 
swampy floodplain that extends more than 30 miles 
to the west and northwest. Much of this floodplain 
has the potential of being underlain by peat; but 
only a 4 mile stretch, all of which is on the 
Westover orthophotographic quadrangle map, at the 
mouth of the river was investigated (Erlich, 1980). 



35 




Figure 19. Index to maps showing Carolina bays with peat, maps 1 (Figure 20) through 19 (Figure 38). 




Figure 20. Carolina bays. Map 1. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Edenton NW quadrangle. 



36 



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Figure 21. Carolina bays. Map 2. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Vanceboro SW quadrangle. 




Figure 22. Carolina bays. Map 3. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Trent River NE , and Trent River NW quadrangles. 



37 




Figure 23. Carolina bays. Map 4. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Saint Paul NE, and Saint Paul SE quadrangles. 



38 




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Figure 24. Carolina bays. Map 5. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Roseboro NE, Roseboro NW, Roseboro SE, and RoseboroSW quadrangles. 



39 





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Figure 25. Carolina bays. Map 6. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Garland SE, and Garland SW quadrangles. 




Figure 26. Carolina bays. Map 7. Number inside bay indicates maximun thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Bladenboro SE and Bladenboro SW quadrangles. 



40 




Figure27. Carolina bays. Map 8. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. USGS 
Elizabefhtown NE, Elizabethtown NW, Elizabethtown SE, and Elizabethtown SW quadrangles. 



41 







Figure 28. Carolina bays. Map 9. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 

USGS White Lake NE, White Lake NW, White Lake SE, and White Lake SW quadrangles. 



42 




Figure 29. Carolina bays. Map 10. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Atkinson NW, and Atkinson SW quadrangles. 



43 



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Figure 30. Carolina bays. Map 11. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Maple Hill SW quadrangle. 



•44 



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J 



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Figure 31. Carolina bays. Map 12. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Fairbluff quadrangle. 




Figure 32. Carolina bays. Map 13. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Chadbourn NE quadrangle. 



45 



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Figure 33. Carolina bays. Map 14. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Bolton NE quadrangle. 











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Figure 34. Carolina bays. Map 15. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
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46 



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Figure 35. Carolina bays. Map 16. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Topsail quadrangle. 





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USGS Funston quadrangle. 



47 



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J 



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Figure 37. Carolina bays. Map 18. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Calabash quadrangle. 




Figure 38. Carolina bays. Map 19. Number inside bay indicates maximum thickness of peat in feet. 
USGS Southport quadrangle. 



48 



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TABLE 33. SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF CHOWAN RIVER PEATS 
(7 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Median 



High 



BTU/LB 1 

H2O 2 


9,300 
90 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatilcs 


59 


Fixed Carbon 


30 


Ash 2 


3 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


53 


II 


4.5 





28 


N 


1.5 


S 
Ash 2 


0.3 
3 



9,900 
91 



62 

33 

6 



58 

4.8 
29 

1.8 

0.4 

6 



10,100 
93 



64 

36 
10 



61 
5.0 

30 
2.1 
0.6 

10 



Moisture-free basis. 



2 For 204 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content averaged 
9 1 percent, and the ash content averaged 1 1 percent. 



The surface of the peat near the mouth of the river 
is only slightly above sea level. The bordering 
pre-Holocene surface has elevations of about 20 ft. 
Some small creeks flow from the floodplain into the 
Roanoke, but in general the swampy peatlands are 
poorly drained. The water table is near the surface 
in most of the peat deposits. 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Sampling in the 
area investigated was not thorough enough to enable 
an accurate isopach map of the peat to be prepared; 
but in the limited area mapped, peat was found 
under about 3,000 acres with about 1.5 million 
tons of moisture-free peat (Fig. 40). The main mass 
of fuel-grade peat is found along the southeast part 
of the floodplain near the valley wall. Here the 
peat is up to 12 ft thick with thicknesses of 6 to 10 
ft being common. This peat averages about 10 
percent ash but with some layers that are very high 
in ash. Near the river layers of flood-deposited 
sand and clay intertongue with the peat (Erlich, 
1980). 

Very probably there are other areas of 
fuel-grade peat in the wide floodplain of the 
Roanoke to the west of the area investigated. 



CAPE FEAR RIVER 



TABLE 34. PEAT RESOURCES (PARTIAL) IN CHOWAN 
RIVER FLOODPLAIN 



Thickness 
ft 



A. Deposit A 


>0 


>4 


B. Deposit B 


>0 


>4 


C. Deposit C 


>0 


>4 


D. Deposit D 


>0 


>4 


E. Deposit E 


>0 


>4 


F. Deposit F 


>0 


>4 


G. Deposit G 


>0 


>4 


H. Deposit H 


>0 


>4 


I. Deposit I 


>0 


>4 


J. TOTAL 


>0 


>4 



Area 


Weight 


10 3 Acres 


10 6 tons 




(moisture-free) 


1.22 


0.70 


0.83 


0.61 


0.17 


0.06 


0.07 


0.04 


0.66 


0.28 


029 


0.21 


0.14 


0.06 


0.06 


0.04 


5.34 


2.40 


2.87 


1.90 


0.09 


0.06 


0.07 


0.06 


0.09 


0.02 








0.44 


0.11 








0.02 


0.02 


0.02 


0.01 


8.17 


3.71 


4.21 


2.88 



Fear River enters the Atlantic Ocean south of 
Wilmington (Figs. 1 and 41). The river has a wide 
swampy floodplain that extends several tens of 
miles to the northwest. Much of this floodplain has 
the potential of being underlain by peat but only a 
small area near Wilmington at the junction of the 
Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear was investigated 
(Kronenfeld, 1984). The peat deposits are in 
Brunswick and New Hanover counties and lie on the 
Castle Hayne and Wilmington U.S. Geological Survey 
orthophotographic quadrangle maps. The surface of 
the peat is only slightly above sea level and is 
poorly drained. 



Moisture - The moisture content ranged from 
83 to 96 percent with an average of 91 percent. 
Location, Topography, and Drainage - The Cape There is little variation with depth reflecting the 



58 




Figure 40. Map showing location of Roanoke River peats. Selected thicknesses in feet are shown. 
USGS Westover quadrangle. 




Figure 41. Isopach map of Cape Fear River peats near Wilmington. Thickness in feet 
USGS Castle Hayne, and Wilmington quadrangles. 



59 



fact that the peat is essentially water-saturated 
from the surface downward (Table 35). 



TABLE 35. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF CAPE FEAR RIVER PEAT 
(5 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Median 



High 



BTU/LB 1 


8,700 


H 2 2 


90 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volaliles 


S3 


Fixed Carbon 


30 


Ash 2 


3 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


53 


II 


3.9 


O 


23 


N 


0.9 


S 


0.2 


Ash 2 


3 



9,400 
91 



60 
33 



57 

4.3 
30 

1.4 

0.3 



9,800 
93 



63 

35 

15 



59 

4.6 
33 

1.7 

0.5 
15 



Moisture-free basis. 

"For 61 samples with less than 25 percent ash, the moisture content ranged 
from 83 to 96 percent with an average of 91 percent; and the ash content 
ranged from 3 to 25 percent with an average of 1 1 percent. 



Ash - The ash content of the fuel-grade peat 
averages 1 1 percent, which is high compared to the 
pocosin and Carolina bay peats (Table 35). 
Flooding of the adjacent rivers and wind-driven 
tides have introduced sand and clay into the 
peat-forming swamps. The peat deposits are 
surrounded and sometimes overlain by 
organic-rich sediments. 

Heating Value and Composition - Cape Fear 
River peats are similar to the average North 
Carolina peat (Table 2) except that the oxygen 
content is somewhat high and the hydrogen and 
heating values are somewhat low (Table 35). 

Peat Deposits and Resources - Fuel-grade peat 
was found in two areas, one between and at the 
confluence of the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape 
River rivers and another on Eagle Island just south 
of the confluence of the two rivers. Usually the 
peat is continuous from the surface to the bottom of 
the deposit; but the margins of the deposits are 
frequently covered by highly organic, but 
non-peat, sediments. In places tongues of highly 
organic sediments are present in the peat bodies. 



Total resources in the two deposits are about 
0.7 million tons of moisture-free peat under about 
870 acres, of which about 0.5 million tons under' 
520 acres are in peat greater than 4 ft thick (Table: 
36). 



TABLE 36. PEAT RESOURCES (PARTIAL) IN CAPE FEAR 
RIVER FLOODPLAIN 



Thickness 


Area 


Weight 


ft 


10^ acres 


10 6 tons 
(moisture-free) 


A. South Deposit 






>0 


0.23 


0.13 


>4 


0.09 


0.08 


>8 








B. North Deposit 






>0 


0.64 


0.52 


>4 


0.43 


0.45 


>8 


020 


0.24 


C. TOTAL 






>0 


0.87 


0.65 


>4 


0.52 


0.53 


>8 


0.20 


0.24 



The peat resources in the unmapped parts of 
the floodplains of the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape 
Fear rivers are unknown but could be large. 

OTHER RIVER FLOODPLAINS 

The floodplains of other coastal rivers; 
(Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tar, Neuse, New, etc.)) 
have the potential of having peat deposits similar, 
to those of the Chowan, Roanoke, and Cape Fear 
rivers. 

Tidal or Coastal Marshes 

Highly organic sediments are characteristic of 
the marshes that fringe many of the sounds and 
estuaries of the North Carolina coast. Although the 
coastal marshes were not investigated thoroughly, 
the marshes that were sampled usually had ash 
contents exceeding 25 percent. This is in 
agreement with the conclusion of Frey and Basan: 
(1978; p. 121) that in southern coastal marshes 
"peat is not a significant constituent of the 
sediments." 

At a few small areas west and southwest of 
Carolina Beach and along the eastern side of 
the lower Cape Fear River estuary were some 
peats with less than 25 percent ash. The 



60 



composition of these tidal marsh peats (Table 37) 
were similar to the average North Carolina peat 
(Table 2) except that the hydrogen content was 
somewhat lower and that the sulfur content was 
much higher than average. The high sulfur content 
reflects the influence of sulfates present in the sea 
water that invades the marshes. 



TABLE 38. TOTAL NORTH CAROLINA PEAT RESOURCES 



TABLE 37. 



SUMMARY OF COMPOSITION (WEIGHT PERCENT) 
AND HEATING VALUES OF SELECTED TIDAL MARSH 
PEATS FROM LOWER CAPE FEAR RIVER ESTUARY 
(11 SAMPLES WITH LESS THAN 25 PERCENT ASH) 
(SEE APPENDIX FOR INDIVIDUAL ANALYSES) 



Low 



Median 



High 



BTU/LB 1 


8,300 


H 2 


87 


PROXIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




Volatiles 


52 


Fixed Carbon 


26 


Ash 


4 


ULTIMATE ANALYSIS 1 




C 


47 


H 


3.3 


O 


25 


N 


0.7 


S 


0.5 


Ash 


4 


Moisture- free basis. 





9,600 
90 



58 
33 

4 



57 

4.0 
28 

1.3 

0.9 

9 



10,100 
93 



61 

37 
19 



59 
4.9 

31 
1.6 
1.4 

19 



>Q ft 



DEPOSIT 



Weight Area 

3 a< 



> 4 rt 



Area 



10" 5 acres 10° tons 1 



Weight 



I. Coastal Swamps 


(Pocosins) 










Dismal Swamp 




76.8 


67.8 


34.7 


43.4 -G' 


Albemarle-Pamlico 


R. 


373. 


278. 


175. 


196. -G 


Gull Rock 




8.1 


4.6 


1.3 


1.6 -G 


Van Swamp 




6.6 


5.8 


2.6 


3.8 -G 


Bay City-Gum Swamp 


12.3 


5.9 


1.1 


1.1-G 


Light Ground 




5.9 


5.2 


2.8 


3.5 -G 


Open Grounds 




11.0 


6.3 


0.5 


0.6 -G 


Croatan Forest 




35.3 


26.9 


11.6 


14.4 -G 


Hofmann Forest 




5.2 


4.2 


1.0 


1.6 -G 


Angola Swamp 




21.9 


15.2 


8.8 


9.6 -G 


Holly Shelter 




9.2 


6.7 


3.1 


3.8 -G 


Green Swamp 




16.4 


103 


3.6 


4.3 -G 


II. River Flood River 










Chowan 




16 


8. 


8. 


6. -F 


Roanoke 




20.? 


15.? 


10.? 


10.? -P 


Tar 




6.? 


6.? 


3.? 


3.?-P 


Neuse 




6.? 


6.? 


3.? 


3.7-P 


Cape Fear 




12.? 


10.? 


6.? 


5.?-P 


III. Carolina Bays 




35.3 


15.4 


8.1 


8.4 -F 


TOTAL 




677. 
(1060 sq mi) 


498. 


284. 

(444 sq mi) 


319. 



Weight in moisture- free tons. 
^Quality of Estimate: G-Good, F-Fair, P-Poor. 



TOTAL PEAT RESOURCES OF NORTH 
CAROLINA 

About 498 million tons of moisture- free peat 
underlie about 677,000 acres (1060 sq mi) in 
North Carolina (Table 38). Of this total, about 319 
million tons underlie about 284,000 acres (444 sq 
mi) where the peat is greater than 4 ft thick. Peat 
resources are concentrated in the pocosins or 
coastal swamps of the northeastern part of the state 
with the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula having 55 
percent of the resources and the Dismal Swamp, 1 1 
percent. The remaining coastal swamp deposits are 
small but significant. Although 96 Carolina bays 
have peat, only 46 have peat greater than 4 ft thick 
and only one of these has more than one million 
tons of peat. None of the floodplain peat bodies 
located were very large, continuous, or high 
quality., 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Much credit for this inventory of North 



Carolina's peat resources goes to James C. Bresee, 
Director of the North Carolina Energy Institute. He 
first saw the need for the study and provided 
funding and support to get the project started. He 
was also instrumental in helping to obtain major 
funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to 
complete the project. Guidance from the 

Department of Energy was provided by Melvyn 
Kopstein, Peat Program Manager. In the later 
stages of the project, he was succeeded by Leonard 
Christianson and then by Frank Honea. 

The field investigation of peat deposits 
requires people who appreciate the swamp 
environment and are willing to face on a day-to-day 
basis long-distance mucky walking, dense 
vegetation, and unknown wildlife. Especial thanks 
go to Lee J. Otte, who supervised much of the field 
work. For varying lengths of time, the following 
assisted in the field and in the laboratory: Tim 
Atkinson, Dave Baynard, Dianne Berg, Dwayne 
Booker, Ned Billington, Richard Bullock, Phillip 
Daniels, Ronald Davis, Robert Duncan, Greg 
Eisenhower, Robert Erlich, Steve Fauser, Billy 
Fentress, Charles Folger, Bruce Ford, Noel France, 



61 



Manley Fuller, Lynn Gladieux, John Groce, Mark 
Holmes, Michael Indorf, Kathy Kronenfeld, Brent 
Lane, Howard Lineberger, David Mallison, Joe 
McMurray, Terry O'Hearn, Horace Pendergrass, 
Charles Sanders, Harry Sibold, Brenda Smith, 
Donna Smith, Max Spach, Mark Stevenson, John 
Toth, Michael Wei, Jim Wilson, Thomas Witner, 
Larissa Yount, and Henry Unger. 

Steve Barnes, Soils Scientist with First Colony 
Farms, Inc., Creswell, N.C., most willingly made 
available the results of his years of work on the 
organic soils and peat of the Albemarle-Pamlico 
peninsula. 



1983b, Sea level and coastal change, in 



Wright, H.E., ed., Late Quaternary 
environments of the United States 
Holocene: Minneapolis, University of 
Minnesota Press, p.42-51. 



v.2, the 



Cady, G.H., 1977, Goal, in Lapedes, D.N., ed., 
Encyclopedia of the geological sciences: New 
York, McGraw -Hill, p.96-103. 

Cameron, C.C., 1973, Peat, in Brobst, D.A. and 
Pratt, W.P., eds., United States minerals 
resources: U.S. Geological Survey 
Professional Paper 820, p.505-513. 



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62 



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63 



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Porter, S.C.„ 1983, Introduction, in Wright, H.E. 
and Porter, S.C., ed., Late Quaternary 
environments of the United States, v.l, the 
late Pleistocene: Minneapolis, University of 
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Lishtvan, 1. 1., 1981, Physico-chemical 
fundamentals of chemical technology of peat, 
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Lundelius, E.L., 1983, Terrestrial vertebrate 
faunas, in. Wright, H.E. and Porter, S.C., ed., 
Late Quaternary environments of the United 
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University of Minnesota Press, p. 31 1-353. 

Luukkanen, A.K., 1984, The effect of type of peat 
and some physical features on bitumen yield: 
Proceedings of 7th International Peat 
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Martin, A.M., 1982, Utilization of peat as a 
fermentation substrate: Peat News, v.4, 
p. 7-12. 

Minnesota Peat Inventory Project, 1980, 
Inventory of peat resources, Koochiching 
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209p. 

, 1982, Inventory of peat resources, 

Aitkin County, Minnesota: Minnesota 
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Prouty, W.F., 1952, Carolina bays and their 
origin: Geological Society of America 

Bulletin, v.63, p. 167-224. 

Punwani, D.V. and Weatherly, J.W., ed., 1980, 
Peat as an energy alternative: Chicago, 
Institute of Gas Technology, 777p. 

Raymond, G.P., Day, J.H., Rennic, P.J., and Stanck, 
W., eds., 1979, Peat testing manual: National 
Research Council of Canada Technical 
Memoradum 125, 193p. 

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Poland: Peat News, v.2, p.54-80. 

Ruel, M., Chornet, S., Coupal, B., Aitchin, P., and 
Cossette, M., 1977, Industrial utilization of 
peat, in. Radforth, N.W. and Brawner, CO., 
eds., Muskeg and the northern environment: 
Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 
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and origin of the mineralogy of the northern 
Florida Everglades, in. Raymond, R. and 
Andredjko, M.J., eds., Mineral matter in peat: 
Los Alamos, New Mexico, National Laboratory, 
p. 189-198. 



64 



Shacklette, H.T. and Boerngen, J.G., 1984, 
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Ames, 



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of Energy, 1979, Peat 



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v.2, p.86-87. 



65 



Appendix A - SCHEME FOR ASSIGNING 
LOCATION NUMBERS ON U.S.GEOLOGICAL 

SURVEY TOPOGRAPHIC 
ORTHOPHOTOGRAPHIC QUADRANGLE MAPS 

Tick marks indicating longitude and latitude 
along the margins of U. S. Geological Survey 
quadrangle maps can be used to subdivide a map 
into 9 rectangles, which can be arbitrarily 
numbered from 1 to 9 as indicated below. These 
rectangles can be subdivided into 9 similar 
subrectangles, etc. 



Appendix B - PROXIMATE AND ULTIMATE 
ANALYSES OF NORTH CAROLINA PEATS 

Bl - Pocosin or coastal swamp peats. 

B2 - Carolina bay peats. 

B3 - River floodplain peats. 

B4 - Tidal or coastal marsh peats. 

Analyses labelled FC were provided by First 
Colony Farms, Inc., Creswell, N. C. All other 
analyses were performed in the laboratories of the 
U. S. Department of Energy at Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania, or Grand Forks, North Dakota. 




For example, location of X is 82; location of x is 

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N. MANCHESTER, 
INDIANA 46962